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As Thanksgiving Week Opens

Monday, November 24, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Victor Davis Hanson pens a blunt ten-point assessment of our current situation, but I think he should follow up with the 10 best things he sees about him. (HT: RobinsonandLong.com)

Number one among the hopeful signs is a new generation of leaders in the making who have fought in the war over the past seven years and who are clear-eyed about the enemy and about what it requires to defeat the enemy.

Number two is the arrival of General Petraeus at CentCom and the new focus on Afghanistan allowed by the unfolding victory in Iraq. Today’s Los Angeles Times carries a story on the possible shift of more Marines to the Afghan battlefield. Whether it is a mixed Army-Marines force, or one tilting towards the USMC, the Taliban and their terrorist allies seem destined for a very difficult four years as the president-elect has made their defeat his key overseas objective.

There are other enormously encouraging developments, including the distribution of vast amounts of technology to millions of individuals whose counterparts a generation ago would have been blessed to have a typewriter. Technology of course doesn’t convert ignorance into genius, but it does facilitate the exchange of information and the rise of genius. (For one example, visit www,amaze.fm. launched a month ago, which allows you to sample musicians who have never been close to a record label deal.)

VDH might also have noted that the ongoing collapse of the old media has opened up the world to information networks –some already here and growing like Townhall.com and PJTV.com, others still years away from launch– which are supplanting the already greatly diminished power of the old media.

Some of my colleagues bemoan what they see as old media’s triumph in the November elections, but they mistake the bias of the old media for its effectiveness. While the partisan cheering of the MSM for the president-elect was full-throated and un-ending, it isn’t possible to argue that the MSM brought about the defeat of John McCain. It wasn’t close enough to argue as much, and the country generally knew everything about Barack Obama that it wanted to know. The new media will now exist as a crucial check on the new Adminstration, the adventures of which will not be receiving much in the way of critical examination from their pets in the MSM.

Then there is the non-collapse of capitalism. Shock after shock has hit the free market system in the past three months, and each has shaken but not toppled the confidence of the average American. There aren’t runs on banks or panic in the streets. Increasingly sane and sober voices are emerging to note that this is a nasty recession, but that market cycles bring nasty recessions, and they also bring their end. Full-scale interventions may not have worked as well as anyone would have liked, but the overall effect has been to steady the system and convey the truth that the U.S. economy remains the world’s leader.

VDH’s pessimism about the public education system is hard to rebut –in part. Some public school systems are in collapse, while others turn out thousands of extraordinarily bright and accomplished students with enormously appealing skills sets and bright futures of enormous productivity and achievement. Figuring out how to increase the number of the latter while shrinking the former is a huge challenge, but one that can be met.

So, as Thanskgiving Week opens, there is much to celebrate, including a country whose commitment to freedom and opportunity allows for the rise of a president-elect from the unlikeliest of circumstances. Anything is possible in America, and usually much good comes from that basic, unchanging fact.

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The Two Senate Races

Monday, November 24, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

President-elect Obama’s refusal to rule out tax hikes in this fragile economic environment means that the GOP’s victories in Minnesota and Georgia are crucial to retaining any kind of a breakwall in the Congress.

Norm Coleman has a 180 vote lead with 68% of the vote recounted a second time. As a hand review of 2/3rds of the ballots cost Norm a net of 35 votes, it is hard to imagine that the last third will swing so drastically against him, so it will then be up to the State Canvassing Board to review the two to three thousand “challenged” ballots. Powerline’s Scott Johnson relays one nightmare scenario, but it may underestimate the power of the combination of the State Canvassing Board, which includes two Minnesota Supreme Court Justices, making a court reversal of its ruling on absentees much more unlikely in my mind. Nor is there the sort of ad hoc, county-by-county shifting standards that led to Bush v.Gore. LetFreedomRing explains why Minnesota ’08 isn’t Florida 2000.

The run-off in Georgia is next Tuesday, and the campaigning never let up for a day. If you have $25 or $50 left to keep the U.S. Senate as a bulwark against really bad ideas, send it to Saxby Chambliss today.

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