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The Iraqi Constitution and Team Building, Generally

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My column, “Saving The Great Raid,” praises the movie and suggests why some of its critics might be ignoring the obvious quality of the film.

Perhaps President Bush will find time during his vacation to screen the flick.

David Brooks
and the editors of the Wall Street Journal both reflect on the Iraqi constitution today, with Brooks enlisting Peter Galbraith in the effort. The document is a huge achievement, as is the entire Iraq intervention, though the cost has been high in both life and money. Only the Bush-haters can argue that the Iraqis and the world would have been better off with Saddam –and then his sons–in power, and with the corruption of oil-for-food-for-tyrants-for-terrorists pumping tens of millions of corrupting dollars into secret pockets and numbered accounts.

Only those blinded by partisan hate or ambition denigrate the effort underway in Baghdad.

The Journal’s John Harwood notes that “Republicans Are Unlikely to Jump War Ship,” in today’s edition. (subscription required.) Key graphs:

The answer: not likely. National security remains a potent unifying issue for Mr. Bush’s political coalition, he retains overwhelming personal popularity among Republicans, and the party’s leading candidate to succeed him strongly backs the nation’s continued presence in Iraq….

Those on the ballot in the 2006 midterm elections also know they risk alienating core supporters by bucking Mr. Bush on the security issue that is widely credited with delivering Republican gains in 2002 and 2004. Consider the results of last month’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll: 75% of Republicans called the Iraq war worth its costs and 84% approved of Mr. Bush’s job performance, while strong majorities of Democrats and independents took the opposite view….

The war has been more internally divisive for Democrats, whose activist wing is demanding stronger condemnation of Mr. Bush’s policies than most senior Democratic elected officials have been willing to provide. A wide array of leading Democratic office holders — from 2004 presidential nominee John Kerry to 2008 front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton — voted to authorize the war in 2002, which has limited their room for maneuver since then.

Because the GOP has not wavered, and because the left dominates the Democratic Party and angrily denounces the war at every turn, the elections of 2006 and 2008 will both turn on the war and the counter-assault on terrorism generally. That’s a good thing as the war is the central issue of our time, and just as it has in 2002 and 2004, the American electorate is going to chose the candidate(s) that are pledged to victory, not those proposing retreat on the path to defeat.

On a much lighter note, I would like to start an effort to outlaw “team building” efforts like those described in this article.

Those who agree can send me “team builidng” horror stories, or post on the subject and I will link here. The appearance of team buildng exercises within an organization signals to me a deep crisis among leadership/management. Just look at this picture! Team building belongs in sports and the military.

If you are team building guru, send me your contact info.

Lifelike Pundits seems to think I am a racist and a bigot for not pumping Secretary Rice’s performance in Ruffini’s straw poll. That is, to put it kindly, the sort of “analysis” that one reads at Kos.

Secretary Rice has never run for anything and never indicated a desire to run for anything. The disciplines required to run for the presidency –the daily repitition of the same speech, for example, to a total of ten thousand times, or the patient dialing for dollars to rack up the millions required– these are skill sets that appointed people just don’t have, but which telegenic, young giant killers like John Thune and Tim Pawlenty do have. I am standing by my suggestion that the waters of 2008 are going to roil quite a bit after the ballots of 2006 are cast, and surprise candidates will appear. But Secretary Rice –a great American and perhaps even a great VP pick– is never going to resign her role to attend chicken dinners in Des Moines, so that “fantasy” is just that.

The Ruffini poll has a lot of folks talking and speculating, and that’s a good thing. But not all analysts are created equal, and imputing racism to anyone on the basis of what he or she didn’t say is, at best, amusing.


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