Monday Brief

Petraeus Resigns, Questions Abound

Nov. 12, 2012

The Foundation

“We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.” –George Washington

Opinion in Brief

David Petraeus

“David Petraeus’s resignation [as CIA Director] marks the end of one of the great postwar military and government careers…. But for now, the explanation of Petraeus’s resignation unfortunately raises more questions than it answers, in a number of significant ways: Fairly or not, questions will be raised why this Washington-style Friday-afternoon resignation occurred after rather than before the election – a question that does not necessarily suggest that Petraeus did not take the proper nonpartisan course. But just days after [the election], we are already beginning to hear of all sorts of ‘sudden’ news: the Iranian attack on a U.S. drone; the plight of the Hurricane Sandy victims … as much more severe than we were led to believe; the sudden publicity of the ‘fiscal cliff’; and the Benghazi hearings. In that unfortunate politicized landscape comes the Petraeus bombshell. We were beginning to sense that the crime of Benghazi … and the cover-up … were not the entire story of the 9/11/2012 attack…. If rumors are true that the liaison may have involved biographer Paula Broadwell, co-author of an extremely favorable biography of Petraeus, then there are additional ethical issues that, fairly or not, call into question Broadwell’s bona fides as an author and the portrait of Petraeus in her warmly received book. And if the FBI was involved, then additional questions arise over the reasons they also became interested – when, why, how, and on whose prompt? Because of both Petraeus’s sterling reputation and his high office, infidelity takes on greater importance than if it were – how absurd to write this – merely that of a lesser figure like Bill Clinton, whose serial miscreant conduct was taken for granted, even when he was a sitting president. If the affair occurred while Petraeus was general, it contradicted the code of military justice; if while at the CIA, it posed a potential security breach. For most of us, however, Petraeus is forever frozen as the hero of 2007-8, when, battered by the congressional hearings … and ad hominem attack ads in the New York Times … he nonetheless pressed ahead and broke the back of the insurgency – in part due to his competence, his unmatched reputation, and the talented circle around him. … [T]he truth was always that he sought to serve his country regardless of politics.” –historian Victor Davis Hanson

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For the Record

“The current Congress hasn’t finished its mischief. It still has the opportunity to do bad things in the upcoming Lame Duck session, a period when members of Congress who are already defeated will have the opportunity to vote without concern for voter approval. … The globalists could make a surprise treaty push for ratification of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (UNATT). This treaty is coming under the radar since gun-control advocates know it could never pass the U.S. Senate after debate in broad daylight. The gun-control advocates assume that private ownership of guns is inherently dangerous. They hope they can achieve their goal of prohibiting private ownership by the covert strategy of a treaty with vague language, and so far have been successful in avoiding media attention. Supposedly UNATT is merely designed to regulate government-to-government arms transfers and direct sales by manufacturers to governments. Its danger to our Second Amendment is its innocuous treaty language that can impact on the use and ownership of guns by individuals.” –columnist Phyllis Schlafly

Essential Liberty

“[C]ompromise on core principles is never acceptable. Ultimately, no compromise is worth making if it undermines free enterprise, allows the continued and unchecked expansion of the state, or furthers the notion that Washington can or should pick economic winners and losers. In other words, we can build on truths shared between parties and ideologies on policy issues. But we cannot have compromise between the majority who support American free enterprise and the minority who wish to see it fail. Finding common ground on policy while standing firm on principle is the grand political tradition of our republic. Our founders, who were greatly divided on the important policy questions of their day from tariffs to federalism, did not waver in their commitment to limited government and individual liberty. The moral covenant between government and the people established by the Declaration of Independence and reflected in the immortal phrase ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ was not up for negotiation. Do not be lulled into complacency by those who suggest that our long-term fiscal imbalances are not real, or who say that plunging off the fiscal cliff somehow represents responsible policymaking. We cannot continue to kick the can down the road until we achieve some future Platonic Congress.” –American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks

Government

“Among the objections to ObamaCare, one that has not gotten as much attention as it should is the president’s power to waive the law for any company, union or other enterprise he chooses. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution provides for ‘equal protection of the laws’ for all Americans. To have a law that can cost an organization millions of dollars a year either apply or not apply, depending on the whim or political interest of the President of the United States, is to make a mockery of the rule of law. How secure is any freedom when there is this kind of arbitrary power in the hands of one man? What does your right of freedom of speech mean if saying something that irritates the Obama administration means that you or your business has to pay huge amounts of money and get hit with all sorts of red tape under ObamaCare that your competitor is exempted from, because your competitor either kept quiet or praised the Obama administration or donated to its reelection campaign? … The checks and balances of the Constitution have been evaded time and time again by the Obama administration, undermining the fundamental right of the people to determine the laws that govern them, through their elected representatives.” –economist Thomas Sowell

The Gipper

“Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” –Ronald Reagan

Political Futures

“Despite losing the popular vote 51% to 48% … Mitt Romney would be President today if he had secured 333,908 more votes in four key swing states. The final electoral college count gave President Obama a wide 332 to 206 margin over Romney. 270 electoral college votes are needed to win the Presidency. Romney lost New Hampshire’s 4 electoral college votes by a margin of 40,659 … Florida’s 29 electoral college votes by a margin of 73,858 … Ohio’s 18 electoral college votes by a margin of 103,481 … [and] Virginia’s 13 electoral college votes by a margin of 115,910. … Add the 64 electoral college votes from this switch of 333,908 votes in these four key states to Romney’s 206, remove them from Obama’s 332, and Romney defeats Obama 270 to 268. … Both parties lost support of the population in the four years between 2008 and 2012. While Obama lost more support, he started with more, and he was able to hang on to enough of his base to overcome Romney’s inability to keep and expand his base. … This election was not about grand vision. It was about small details and focused pandering to specific demographic groups. … For the Republicans to retain the House and take the Senate in 2014, and then the Presidency in 2016, conservatives are going to have to improve their ground game dramatically. Democrats work at this for every one of the four years before the next Presidential election. It’s time for conservatives to do the same.” –Breitbart’s Michael Patrick Leahy

Faith and Family

“Just as with religion, people bring their ideology with them. And unless you think you could talk a Muslim jihadist out of Islam, why suppose you could talk a socialist out of socialism? … As a people’s morality goes, so go its fortunes. You simply cannot be one kind of people but have another kind of government … And what has happened to our sense of virtue in America? So lost it is that even the word has been replaced with ‘values,’ that fixture of the atheistic literary style. For decades we have instilled children with leftism, nihilism, hedonism, relativism, and atheism through academia, the media, and popular culture; we have seduced them into sin and made them, as Ben Franklin wrote, ‘more corrupt and vicious, [so] they have more need of masters.’ For sure, masters will be one’s lot if he has not mastered himself. … There is a strong atheism-statism correlation the world over, which is why it’s no coincidence that ‘conservatives’ in heavily secular Western Europe are simpatico with our liberals. … Without the Christian right, there is no right at all.” –columnist Selwyn Duke

Culture

“We simply can’t retreat into our large but still-minority cocoon of new media and talk only to each other, working hard to get ever-larger numbers of our shrinking constituencies to the polls. Our cultural efforts have to be every bit as wide-ranging and persistent as those of the Left. Majority ideologies are built over generations, not overnight, and it means breaking the public-school monopoly, influencing public schools even while we work to diminish their influence, sending our best and brightest young writers and actors into the lion’s den of Hollywood, working to reform higher education and breaking the ideological hammerlock of the hard Left on faculties, and working hard – very hard – to tell the true story of conservative compassion for the ‘least of these,’ a story featuring the efficiency and creativity of private philanthropy combined with Christ-centered love and concern for the individual. We have the better message. Now we have to make sure our fellow citizens see it as empowering, not terrifying.” –National Review’s David French

Reader Comments

“I am the Czech Patriot quoted by Mark Alexander in his essay last week, Back in the Fight. Though I am disappointed with the American election result, as Patriots worldwide look to America as a beacon of liberty, let me encourage you to be more optimistic. In the ‘70s the world looked to be in hands of socialists forever, before Reagan and Thatcher came. In '89 we also did not believe that socialists would be defeated. But we did defeat them, and you will too.” –Stanislav in Prague

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“President Ronald Reagan once said, 'Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.’ I joined the Marines during this great man’s presidency and I am ashamed that it is during my generation’s time that we will most likely see this come to fruition. I just sent a donation to The Patriot Post because I refuse to watch as our country dives into the abyss. I am a proud Southerner and Tennessean and I have the blood of patriots from our first two revolutions flowing through my veins. While our nation’s salvation didn’t hang on Mitt Romney, or any other man, political party, or faction, I have to believe that God has a master plan, which I hope to be in any way an instrument of our Lord in the realization of it. I will continue to pray for our people and our great nation and for a restoration of our founding principles. God bless you all and thanks for the best constitutional-based look at what’s going on around us today. Sic Semper Tyrannis!” –Grandson of Liberty

The Last Word

“The president serves at our pleasure. So the president trying to lead us is like your butler dictating your agenda for the day. What would you do if your butler tried that? That’s right: You’d lock him in a small room in the wine cellar for a couple days to teach him his place. Yet somehow we not only put up with the president trying to lead us, but we’ve come to expect it. We have it in our heads that the president of the United States is like the CEO of our country, when in reality his job is more akin to head janitor. … Yet right now in America we think that this janitor is in charge of everything, and that’s how we ended up with this Obama mess. Everyone went on about how inspiring Obama was – like that matters – and how he was going to solve all our problems – like that was his job. But no one asked the essential question: Can he clean and stay out of our way? Thus we come back four years later and find that the office building we asked him to clean has been burned down, and when we ask him what happened, he gets mad at us and says, ‘It’s not my fault; it was messy when I started. But don’t worry, I have great plans to really get the company growing these next four years. First off, I went ahead and significantly increased the janitorial budget.’ In reality, that guy would not only be fired, he’d be sued. And, with a name like Barack Obama, probably deported.” –columnist Frank J. Fleming

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team