Today's Blogs

Born on the Fourth of July

Conservative bloggers enthuse about Fred Thompson’s likely presidential candidacy. Opinions are mixed over Bush’s new pick to head the World Bank, and it’s Cold War II: Nuclear Bugaloo as Russia shows off a missile capable of penetrating our defense shield.

Born on the Fourth of July: Former Sen. Fred Thompson will indeed runfor president and plans to announce on Independence Day. He’s already raised millions of dollars, has polled in the double-digits, and apparently will form his exploratory committee in a matter of days.

California Conservative Gary Gross thinksthe late announcement behooves the actor/senator: “[A]nother advantage to Thompson in that he isn’t obligated to participating in the cattle shows that the Agenda Media refers to as debates. The winner of the last two debates has been Fred Thompson because he hasn’t participated in either of them.” And Chris, the Mason Conservative, writes: “Fred should be able to raise money fairly fast. Up to this point, many conservatives have ‘settled’ on a candidate, but Thompson really is generating some powerful and serious support. Expect many a defection from endorsing congressman.”

Commenter “Fred” at conservative blog Hot Air says: “Fred! has played this perfectly. Rudy and McCain’s flaws are well known and have been exposed in the early debates (for all 12 people that watched). Mitt is too blow dried and pressed for comfort. … Fred! looks the part and that’s important (as Reagan said) and especially so since George W. has been such a miserable failure at using the Bully Pulpit after some initial success in the aftermath of 9/11.” Rich Karlgaard at ForbesDigital Rules saysFred! actually beats all Republicans for approximating Gipper! “Among the Republicans running for president in 2008, Thompson comes closest to the Reagan aura. Certainly in style: Thompson is folksy, genial and he knows how to work a camera. His belief in limited government is authentic–like Reagan and unlike George W. Bush. Like Reagan, Thompson does not feel guilty about signing off when his workday is done. Let the Beltway pundits complain all they want.”

Romney supporter Dean Barnett, guest-blogging  for Hugh Hewitt, “acknowledge[s] that while this makes Mitt’s road a tougher one, it is great news for our party and for our country. The stronger our field, the more likely we are to produce a battle hardened candidate who can prevail against the Democratic nominee.”

Readmore about Thompson’s imminent candidacy.

The new money guy: President Bush has tappedRobert Zoellick, a former trade chief and deputy secretary of state, to assume the presidency of the World Bank after Paul Wolfowitz departs next month. A less prominent member of the so-called “Vulcans” who advised Bush on foreign policy during his first campaign, Zoellick gets mixed grades in cyberspace.

Sean Aqui at centrist Midtopia likesthe pick: “Zoellick’s got experience and international credentials. He helped push through CAFTA, which might be an issue here at home but doesn’t bother other countries too much – with the exception of health-related groups like the Global AIDS Alliance, which don’t like the drug patent protections Zoellick helped negotiate. … The more interesting question is whether he will try to continue Wolfowitz’s anticorruption drive, which (along with his Iraq war baggage) is what generated such antipathy for Wolfowitz. I hope so.”

Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy’s Passport agrees: “It’s true that Zoellick made little headway on Darfur or Doha, but these are herculean challenges that require sustained presidential engagement. (After all, the cossacks work for the Tsar.) On China policy, Zoellick made a hugely positive impact as a thoughtful counterweight to Pentagon hawks. His September 2005 remarks to the National Committee on United States-China relations were the most insightful comments made by any Bush official over the past six years. I think Zoellick will represent a vast improvement.”

Liberal Matt Yglesias considersthe choice mediocre—but as good it gets for the Bush administration. Zoellick, he argues, “doesn’t seem to have done the country any good as US Trade Representative or as Deputy Secretary of State, but who also has the rare distinction of having served at a high level of the Bush administration without directly causing any major fiascos.”

Readmore about the Zoellick appointment.

Bigger and better: Russian President Vladimir Putin has boastedthat a new line of ICBMs his country has developed can easily penetrate any missile shield the United States contrives. Citing that any such defense network would turn Europe into a “powder keg,” Russian arms-control expert Alexander Pikayevclaims the new RS-24 rocket was inevitable after the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002.

“Spook86,” a retired military intelligence analyst, postsat In From the Cold: “Various Russian officials–including President Vladimir Putin–are using the ICBM test as ‘proof’ of their ability to overcome missile defenses, including those proposed for Poland and the Czech Republic. But that argument is something of a red herring; as we’ve noted in the past, Moscow already has enough weapons to saturate the planned defensive shield, which is aimed at deterring threats from the Middle East, not Russia.”

Americans might draw cold comfort from Nikolay I.’s rationale for the new RS-24 missile. At russia’s true tales of terra, Nikolay writes: “It is very important to note, that no treaties are being broken with the testing and the production of the rocket, and that the US departure from the ABM agreements in 2002 left Russia no choice but to strengthen the offensive side of its nuclear deterrent, much cheaper than building an analog of the US Global ABM shield. These new missiles are also not tied to a threat to Eastern Europe, as they are ICBMs with very broad ranges (specifically aimed at the US).”

Readmore about Putin’s new toy.