Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Why neither party can fully seize control?


The latest episode of political foot-in-mouth disease with Trent Lott explains part of why the GOP can't get over the hump. If the GOP is serious about becoming the "big tent" party, they MUST jettison the residual boarderline/outright racism that rears its head in things like the recent Trent Lott mouthing off. That is the GOP hurdle just as the democrats have to banish their looney lefties if they want any hope of recovering their standing with the majority of the public.

As an ethnic minority, I once was asked by a democrat why I wasn't a democrat which is the party that welcomes all the minority groups. Though it is true I'm likely to see more people who "look" like me at a democratic gathering, I couldn't support many parts of their party platform. At a republican gathering, I'd experience the opposite, I'd find more common ground in policy issues but I would stand out as an ethnic minority.

The GOP, if it is serious about winning over the ethnic vote should dump Lott as Majority Leader and roundly criticize his remarks.

Last week, I heard Michael Beschloss give a talk based on his book, "The Conquerors." Beschloss is a very effective speaker. He made the history come alive. If I had history teachers like that, I probably would have wanted to be a historian!

Several points that were interesting... FDR was very ill in the latter part of his presidency. This is interesting in light of the recent release of JFK's medical records. Will this mean that health concerns about Presidents and candidates will diminish? Certainly, in those old days, it was easier to "cover up" health stories. Not so today. Yet, now that we know how sickly FDR and JFK were and we regard them highly, will we be less worried about health issues?

Most disturbing was FDR's knowledge of the Holocaust and relative inaction to it. Churchill wanted to bomb the rail lines and the camps to stop the horror but apparently wasn't able to convice FDR.

The key decision by FDR was to defeat Germany totally to hopefully prevent Germany from rising again to threaten Europe and the World again. However, he always feared that Hitler (or if Hitler got removed in a coup, a subsequent regime) would make a deal with Stalin and the USA and British would have to fight both the Red Army and the Nazis. Thus, FDR often accomodated Stalin in their negotiations.

Beschloss was asked about Iraq. He acknowledged that he has heard rumors that his book is in the hands of Bush administration officials and indeed they may absorb the lesson tha unconditional victory was only the first key to a reformed Germany. The other key was that the USA and the West stayed in Germany for many decades to help rebuild the nation.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Civil War within Islam or a Clash of Civilizations? That is how Friedman sees the current terrorism situation.

Wednesday (12/4), I plan to hear Michael Beschloss discuss his book "The Conquerors" which describes the complex relationship between FDR (later Truman), Churchill and Stalin as they decide how to prosecute the war against Germany in WW2. One crucial decision they made was to seek TOTAL destruction of the Nazi government. They believed anything less would mean that Germany would rise again to threaten Europe and the World. It should be an interesting discussion on that pivotal time in world history. I imagine he may also touch on how that bit of history should influence our thinking on the current war on terrorism.