Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: Another Topical Rant

Can we officially call Operation Odyssey Dawn a war? I'm not sure. Did the US have to intervene? Yes. President Obama's address to the nation two weeks ago was both articulate and somewhat befuddling, but supporting and arming the Libyan rebels was the right thing to do. The man I recently dubbed "bizarro Reagan" has an opportunity to pounce on what ol' Dutch could never do: topple Moammar Ghadafi. With American armed forces slowly passing the baton to NATO, I hope this joint effort brings down a tyrant that should've been removed from power decades ago. My only concern mirrors the recent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia: will the end of totalitarian rule bring democracy to a torn nation, or create a radicalized, Al Qaida-type power vacuum?

This is where one might ask when I turned into a war liberal. I assure you that I have tried to be as objective as possible about post-WTC American combat operations. I believe invading Afghanistan was more than justified and sending troops to Libya equally so. As happy as the Iraq people were to be liberated from the Hussein regime eight years ago, Operation Enduring Freedom was organized in haste, without strategy, and largely under false pretense. The only mutual thread between Libya and Iraq is the theme of unfinished business.

Of course, I say this just as President Obama's reelection bid has officially launched. It's an understatement to point out what a difference four years make: the optimistic outsider that announced his candidacy on the Illinois state capital steps in February 2007 is now the embattled center of the American political spectrum. I won't ignore or downplay Obama's vulnerability at this moment in time, though his chances at a second term ultimately falls upon who runs against him. As Ronald Reagan proved in 1984 and Bill Clinton reinforced in 1996, a challenger that trips upon himself proves quite beneficial to the incumbent.

Of the small army of Republican hopefuls, no potential candidate has garnered as much attention --both deliberately and unintentional-- than former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Lest we forget that this is man who orchestrated the infamous 1995-96 government shutdowns and handed divorce papers to his cuckholded wife in the middle of a chemo session. For Gingrich's lack of leadership skills and questionable moral aptitude, it's scary to think he's still a serious contender. The Tea Party boosters that rocked the 2010 midterms have more say in the GOP's direction than ever, and they seem willing to overlook Gingrich's spotty track record and bet all their chips on the retired, erratic Georgia congressman. In spite of a complete lack of similar interests, I will gladly take Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty over Newt. If the Republican Party's power circle still has a sliver of sanity, they will nominate someone --and I mean anyone-- over Gingrich.

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