Today's Blogs

Come on Iran

Bloggers discuss the Bush administration’s conditional agreement to join talks aimed at regulating Iran’s nuclear program. Plus, they jabber about Peggy Noonan’s dissatisfaction with the two-party political system, and decide that the national spelling bee might be cool.

Come on Iran: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced Wednesday that the United States would join allies in talks with Iran regarding the country’s nuclear program. The Bush administration set the condition that Iran halt uranium production before it would join negotiations. Iran reiterated its intent to continue enriching uranium.

“We haven’t had diplomatic relations with Iran for better than a quarter-century for a good reason: The folks in charge over there are radical Islamic nuts who have an unfounded hatred for everything we stand for. The only ‘talk’ the Iranian government listens to is the kind Ronald Reagan gave them during the 1980 presidential campaign which resulted in the peaceful release of our hostages virtually at the same moment as he was being sworn in as president. It’s called putting the fear of God in them and that’s exactly what we need to be doing with them now instead of pussy-footing around with ‘talks,’ ” claims conservative firebrand Steve Bowers at Pardon My English. Though ideologically simpatico with Bowers, Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse argues that talks are a necessary step in preventing Iran from developing nukes. “We may end up going it alone if we take action against the Iranian nuclear program. But it would be prudent and wise to do everything we can to prevent such a development by negotiations even if there be a small chance of success,” Moran writes.

Steve Benen at the Carpetbagger Report is glad Bush abandoned the no-negotiating-with-Iran policy, but he’s surprised there’s no uproar about the “flip-flop.” On the other hand, Mark Nameroff, the South Puget Sound Libertarian, is puzzled as to why the Bush administration’s overture is being called a change of course. “Bush wants Iran to stop its enrichment program before he will talk with Iran about stopping its enrichment program. Iran has, of course, rejected this pre-condition because it is not a pre-condition at all, it is a pre-capitulation to Bush,” he contends. BobcatJH at lefty group blog DailyKos thinks the Bush administration’s logic is slippery because it’s steeped in oil. “[T]he short-term threat from Iran isn’t so much that they could produce a bomb, it’s that a more stable Iran would be harder for our oil-hungry administration to overthrow,” BobcatJH writes. Offering to join talks pending the acceptance of conditions that Iran has already rejected is a showy way to justify cutting off Iran at the knees, he claims.

Read more on Iran. Fred Kaplan analyzed the back-and-forth between the United States and Iran for Slate.

Three’s company: Wall Street Journal editorialist and former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan detects a groundswell of dissatisfaction with the dodgy leadership on both sides of America’s two-party system. Noonan claims it’s not just the divide between political parties that’s hurting America, but it’s the gulf between politicians and voters. Bloggers from left, right, and center agree that a change is imperative.

“So she’s calling for a new party, one that believes in small government, strong borders, and effective Homeland Security. In other words, the Republican Party that George Bush pretends to belong to, not the one to which he actually does,” writes righty Allah Pundit at Hot Air. “It won’t work, though. Partisan fear and loathing will kill it in its crib because even people like me who agree with her will vote strategically.” And conservative Andrew Sullivan agrees with Noonan to a point but holds out hope for the rehabilitation of the GOP at the hands of its moderate golden boy. “Part of me wants McCain to be defeated as a Republican nominee by the forces that have helped bring us to this point. Then we can have a centrist reformer who does not even have to lip-sync respect for the elements that have helped destroy a coherent conservatism and a united country. And he would be the most formidable third-party candidate in a very long time. And part of me sees him as the only way to rescue the Republicans from what they have become,” he writes.

Meanwhile, Jason Backus at Odyssey and Oracle breaks down why he thinks America is being duped by a political system that doesn’t adequately represent its citizens. “During an election, why do we feel like we are choosing between absolute good and absolute evil, depending on which side of the isle one stands on? Why don’t we approach our elections as an opportunity to collectively manage and guide our nation into the future with collective good will and a common hope for a brighter future?”

Read more on Noonan’s article.

Spell it out: The last rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee will air during prime time tonight on ABC. The network has heavily promoted the program, which will include behind-the-scenes footage. Bookies are taking bets on the contest and ESPN has handicapped the competitors.

Kay Rosenthal at the Record of Constant Transformation is full of E-N-T-H-U-S-I-A-S-M for the bee. “If you have never watched this, it is without question, doubt, or confusion the GREATEST sporting event of the year. It also makes me want to drink heavily,” she admits. “The nerves and the anxiety attached to standing up in front of a million people to spell words I can hardly read makes my blood pressure go up like a woodchuck just dropped into my living room.” But Chris Helminiak at Hip 2 Be Square takes issue with the hoopla surrounding the contest’s prime time slot. “Fourteen-year-olds with mustaches aside, there’s got to be something better to put on TV than a spelling bee. And it’s not just the fact that they’re putting the spelling bee finals on TV,” he writes. “The thing that’s boggling my mind this morning, though, is all the hype. I mean they’re building this thing up like its the seventh game of the World Series.”

Read more on the bee.