September 10, 2007
Profile In Some Courage

In my youth, the book, Profiles in Courage, was immensely influential.  There was a lesson, most thought, in the stories the book told of eight senators — John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund G. Ross, Lucius Lamar, George Norris, and Robert A. Taft — who had gone against public opinion and, often, their parties, to do the right thing.  Many thought then, as I still do, that the eight stories showed that sometimes the best thing an elected representative can do is to stand against the majority in his district, to defy rather than to follow public opinion, however difficult, or even dangerous, that may be.

Brian Baird, who represents the third district in Washington state, has not faced anything like the threats and hatred those eight senators did.  But he has taken a stand that requires some courage, and he should be commended for that.  As you probably know, Baird had opposed the war in Iraq from the very beginning, but, now, after a visit to Iraq, believes that we are making military progress and that General Petraeus and the troops deserve more time.

The invasion of Iraq may be one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation.   As tragic and costly as that mistake has been, a precipitous or premature withdrawal of our forces now has the potential to turn the initial errors into an even greater problem just as success looks possible.

As a Democrat who voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy, I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better.  I believe Iraq could have a positive future.  Our diplomatic and military leaders in Iraq, their current strategy, and most importantly, our troops and the Iraqi people themselves, deserve our continued support and more time to succeed.

There is no reason to suspect that Congressman Baird has taken the stand for political advantage; in fact, there is every reason to think that he knows it will hurt him with some of his strongest supporters.  He took this stand because he thought it was the right stand, for the United States and for Iraq.  And I admire the courage he has shown in taking that stand.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(I did not mention the name of the author of Profiles in Courage because it is generally agreed that the man whose name is on the cover — John F. Kennedy — did not write the book.  But it also generally agreed that he conceived it.

There are some interesting similarities between Baird's position and Jack Kemp's.)

Posted by Jim Miller at September 10, 2007 03:09 PM | Email This
Wait a minute.

This is a war right -- why are we always talking about how we're "losing". I mean, look at it from the enemy's perspective.

To me, looking from the other side -- it looks as if they're absolutely ROUTED.

For one, other than some attacks in Bahgdad, they don't seem to be doing anything militarily against us. They have pea shooters -- we have MOAB.

We've developed our Homeland Security 2 orders of magnitude greater than it was under the Gore-Clinton Administration.

We are using our computer skills to track assets, free assets and put A.Q. out of business.

We have put down or brought into the fold rogue countries such as North Korea and Pakistan so they cannot funnel or trade with terrorists without at least our knowledge...and mostly we put a stop to it.

An outsider looking in, would say it's the enemy -- the terrorists -- who has lost.

Posted by: John Bailo on September 10, 2007 09:50 PM
2. The Democrats have figured out that "war is the health of the state." War and the fear of a real or imagined enemy is how big-government politicians have scared us into increasing government spending and power from the Civil War (Lincoln's excuse to give us the Income Tax) to the present day.

The Iraq war has always been a bi-partisan war. It is the rank and file D's who tend to oppose it. But Hillary Clinton and Maria Cantwell and Rick Larsen have long supported it by voting for the use of force authorization and every defense spending bill since then.

Want more taxes and more power to the federal government? Back the current war, whatever that is. War on drugs, war on poverty, LBJ's Viet Nam war, or the war on terror. All the same. Just an excuse to violate our rights and to subvert the Constitution and to take us one step closer to empire, nanny-statism and eventual dictatorship.

America is getting less and less free all the time, while China, India, Ireland, Eastern Europe etc. get freeer all the time. If we keep on going this way, China will be the next super power because of increasing freedom.

This Democrat has figured it out at the last minute. The question is how will he dance around the issue to his liberal base. Oh, I guess that doesn't matter. The liberal base will always support D's, no matter what their record on the war is. See Hillary and Maria.

Next up: a bi-partisan reinstatment of the draft. After all, your life does belong to the state, doesn't it?

Socialism, here we come.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on September 10, 2007 10:05 PM
3. "Brian Baird, who represents the third district in Washington state, has not faced anything like the threats and hatred those eight senators did."

Well, I dunno about THAT.

The fringe leftist nutters and nutroots have gone so far as to go up on TV with ads. And the conduct of the scum attending his town hall meetings easily rises to the level of much of the treatment the folks you listed received.

That said, it was a gutsy move. Now I just have to figure out the motive.

Brian decided to leave the collective; the democratic centralism favored by the Stalinists of the left find that simply intolerable, and they're acting accordingly.

Posted by: Hinton on September 10, 2007 10:07 PM
4. "...the Civil War (Lincoln's excuse to give us the Income Tax)..."

Get a grip Bruce.

Posted by: AD on September 11, 2007 01:49 PM
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