WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The UPI think tank wrap-up is a daily digest covering opinion pieces, reactions to recent news events and position statements released by various think tanks.
The Reason Foundation
LOS ANGELES -- Gore as Nixon? We still may have Al to kick around.
By Ronald Bailey
Al Gore's decision to pull out of the 2004 presidential race, announced on CBS's "60 Minutes," was an above-the-fold story in nearly all newspapers. Was this the action of a man weary of hardball politicking, or is it the canny decision of a politician already plotting his return? Commentators like the American Enterprise Institute's Bill Schneider told NPR this morning that he believes that Gore's chances of ever running again are next to zero.
But perhaps Gore has his eye cocked toward the "Comeback Kid" of the 1960s, Richard Nixon. Like Gore, Nixon lost a close election in 1960 -- most likely through the fraudulent voting of deceased Democrats in Cook County, Ill. In response to Nixon's defeat, the Republicans went to their rightwing base in 1964 and nominated Barry Goldwater. Goldwater suffered a huge defeat in 1964.
History may repeat itself; it seems that the 2002 Democrats, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the House of Representatives, seem ready to let loose their rabid left-wingers.
In the wake of the 1964 debacle, Nixon rehabilitated himself as a moderate and won the presidency in 1968. My bet is that Gore figures that Bush will likely remain popular through the 2004 election cycle, especially if the Democrats immolate themselves in a frenzy of far left-wing extremism.
Also, in the brutal 2004 Democratic primary campaign and presidential campaign, a number of Gore's potential rivals for the Democratic nomination will wear themselves out. Thus, calculates Gore, he will re-emerge as moderate, a la Nixon, and lead his party at long last to victory. It could happen.
(Ronald Bailey is Reason magazine's science correspondent.)
The Institute for Public Accuracy
(The IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for experts whose perspectives are often overshadowed by major think tanks and other influential institutions.)
WASHINGTON -- Hollywood and Baghdad
(The Institute for Public Accuracy organized actor Sean Penn's recent trip to Baghdad.)
-- Jack Shaheen, author of "The TV Arab" and "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People."
"It's encouraging that some individuals working in Hollywood are speaking their minds on American policy in the Mideast. Regrettably, most voices remain mum. Most producers have yet to examine the roles they play in shaping images that teach viewers to hate people and their faiths, notably Arabs and Islam. Ever since the beginning of television, programs have presented Arabs and Muslims as villains.
Since Sept. 11, TV has displayed even more harmful stereotypes, projecting America's Arabs and Muslims as a threat to their country. More than a dozen Arab-bashing movies were produced in cooperation with the Pentagon, the most recent being "Rules of Engagement." As Jack Valenti says, "Washington and Hollywood share the same DNA." Is it only an accident that since two ancient TV series, "The Danny Thomas Show" and "M*A*S*H," which featured Jamie Farr as Klinger, no TV series has featured a regular Arab-American or Muslim-American character? Why is that? Their invisibility is directly linked to prejudice, profiling, and their dehumanization."
-- David Clennon plays the CIA's "art chief" on the CBS show "The Agency."
"We've come to think of a major attack on Iraq as inevitable, but the script doesn't have to play that way. The justification for massive war will wither away if we examine it. Bush the elder called Iraq's invasion of Kuwait 'naked aggression' -- and that's what it will be if we attack Iraq now ... I regret that 'The Agency' -- a fictional drama -- has inadvertently served to reinforce the propaganda emanating from the White House, as it pushes our country toward war. Our show has lately echoed the portrayal of Iraq as a deadly threat to America. I do not believe that view. I don't think the producers are out to bang the drums for war, but they lack an informed perspective on the Middle East and so they reinforce the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld black propaganda line. I think the show's entertainment value is high, but I would ask viewers to do three things: 1) Be very alert to the political assumptions and the political messages contained in each story; 2) Do research in other mediums to come to your own conclusions on questions of war and peace; 3) Let CBS know if you think our show is failing to present a balanced view of world affairs. As an actor I have little influence over the content of our show, but I will stay with 'The Agency' and I'll continue to advocate for a political balance in the show's depiction of our world."
The Cato institute
WASHINGTON -- Cato defense expert responds to Bush's ground-based missile defense initiative
Cato's Charles Peña made the following comments in response to the announcement that the United States will begin deploying a national anti-ballistic missile defense system:
"The planned missile deployment is more a test bed than a real missile defense system. Although some of the rhetoric may suggest otherwise, the truth is that this initial deployment will not provide any meaningful protection of the American public. There is still more realistic testing to be done (particularly against decoys and other countermeasures) before an operationally effective missile defense can be proven viable and affordable.
"If such a system can be demonstrated, a truly national limited land-based missile defense designed to protect the U.S. homeland is the appropriate system against the potential limited threat of rogue states armed with ballistic missiles. But the United States should avoid pursuing an exorbitantly expensive global system to defend U.S. friends and allies overseas. The United States should not be the world's policeman (or armed social worker). Its friends and allies are wealthy enough to pay for their own missile defense. They spend too little on their own defense and already benefit from U.S. security guarantees."