January 16th, 2006


Socialist Michelle Bachelet, "a woman and an agnostic, a guitar-strumming child of the 1960s," has won the Presidency in Chile:
In barely a decade, she has gone from being a pediatrician at a humble, underfinanced clinic here to the first woman to be her country's chief of state, and one of only a handful of women elected to lead any country in the Americas.

Some of those qualities are personal, while others stem from her real and symbolic connections to Chile's recent history. She is a toughened survivor of the Pinochet dictatorship, which was responsible for her father's death, her imprisonment, torture and exile, and she embodies for many Chile's painful reconciliation with those dark years.

"Violence came into my life and wrecked it," Bachelet said Sunday night, in an impassioned victory speech to a jubilant crowd gathered on the main downtown avenue here. "I was a victim of hatred, and I have dedicated my life to reversing that hatred."
With all the Latin American countries veering to the Left, maybe it's time for a new "Domino Theory." Surely the Bush Administration employs someone who was in Valparaiso in 1972. Maybe it's time they opened another front in the War on Peace. I'm sure Pat Robertson would welcome that sort of decisive action. Once he'd done celebrating the demise of Ariel Sharon, that is.
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A Message From the GOP

It's nice to know that my friends in the Republican Party haven't forgotten all the volunteer work I did for them in 2004. Looks like former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann may get a helping hand from the RNC as he runs for governor in Pennsylvania:

Dear Charlie,

Today, we reflect upon the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and rededicate ourselves to fulfilling his Dream. In the courageous struggle for civil rights, we find the inspiration to grow more united as a Nation and stronger as a Party by welcoming Americans from every race and every background to our cause.

Under this President's leadership, we have made great strides towards fulfilling the promise of opportunity for every American. Thanks to the President's bold education reforms, we have narrowed the achievement gap between white and African American children. The homeownership rate among African Americans is near record highs, and African Americans are starting new businesses at a rate double the national average. And President Bush is leading the way in reforming Social Security and Medicare so that those who most rely on these programs have more choices and better benefits.

In this President's Administration and at the highest levels of our party, African Americans are leading the way. We are proud to be the party of Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Alphonso Jackson and Rod Paige. Leaders like Michael Steele from my native Maryland make me proud to be a Republican - and Michael is joined by a growing number of African American candidates and officeholders in our Republican family.

We have come a long way, but we are only part way along in this journey of progress and opportunity. Let me be clear. No matter how many elections Republicans win, no matter how many times we hold the White House, no matter how many seats in Congress, the party of Lincoln will not be whole again until more African Americans come back home.

Quoting scripture, Dr. King said "Let justice roll down like the waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." These words remind us that the principles of freedom and equal opportunity for which Dr. King heroically stood endure beyond the life of one man, and must be advanced not just on this day, but every day.


Ken Mehlman
Chairman, Republican National Committee

P.S. In February, we celebrate some of our nation's most extraordinary achievements during Black History Month. Watch our African American Team Web site for special features throughout the month.
While I am full of bitterly ironic commentary on the timing of this feel-good message, considering the fact that Samuel Alito is likely to be confirmed as the least minority-friendly member of the Supreme Court since Clarence Thomas -- note the irony inset into irony, there -- I suppose the Grand Old Party has some justification for drawing on its heritage on a day like today. You know, Abraham Lincoln and all that. But still. . .