Thursday, August 02, 2007


A talk show host close to the President: (h/t this guy)

President Bush invited ten talk hosts into the Oval Office for an hour of conversation today --Glenn Beck, Bill Bennett, Neal Boortz, Scott Hennon, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, Mark Levin, Michael Medved, Janet Parshall and me. This was an off-the-record conversation, and so I won't be quoting the president.

I will say on today's show that I am confident about the course of the war and about the momentum in Iraq, as well of the president's absolute commitment to doing right by the troops and his concern for every lost and wounded soldier and their families. President Bush's command of the details and his broad view of the conflict is reassuring, and among my comments to him was the wish that he found more opportunities to engage in long interviews that would allow the American public to see that grasp and that commitment.

The Prince of Darkness Has an Epiphany

Once upon a time, like in 1992, the conventional wisdom was that the wives of presidential candidates should shut up and stay in the kitchen baking cookies. Wives of candidates who transgressed this commandment were harshly rebuked.

But 2007 is a very different year. In fact, it is now acceptable not only for a candidate to be divorced and married to a woman 24 years his junior, but it is also now wildly popular that said wife be a prominent force in the campaign, or at least so says famed op-edder and Republican insider Robert Novak:

Speaking at his $1,000-a-ticket fundraiser at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in downtown Washington on Monday night, Fred Thompson began by introducing "my campaign manager -- oh, I mean my wife." That little joke about Jeri Thompson reveals how the prospective Republican presidential candidate regards the attack on his intelligent, beautiful wife.

As the actor-lawyer-politician nears his long-awaited official announcement, Mrs. Thompson is slurred as a "trophy wife" -- privately by her husband's opponents for the Republican nomination and publicly by the media. Even Thompson supporters grumble that Jeri, 40, is too alluring, that she should modify the way she dresses and that, even then, she should not practice her skills as a professional political operative on behalf of her 64-year-old husband.


Well, yeah, that was the line back when Bill Clinton was running for President and the warnings were directed at his wife, Hillary. But I guess so long as the candidate and spouse are Republicans, than it's OK.

Fundy Bamboozlement

Reports of the collapsed bridge in Minneapolis were barely going out over the Intertubes when the fundy scaremongers seized on the tragedy to recite a "sinners in the hands of an angry god" sermon from four centuries ago:

The people who drove onto that bridge had no advance warning of its collapse. They made no conscious decision to embrace danger or to put their lives on the line. Experience and reason have trained us all to trust what looks solid and stable -- and that bridge looked solid and stable up until it fell.

This is a metaphor for our lives and spiritual peril, as Jonathan Edwards so clearly understood. In his famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards made this point with clarity and power:


Actually I was thinking the falling bridge was punishment from god for electing a Democrat U.S. Senator last fall. Maybe someone will make that connection before the tragedy moves off the front pages.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

More Bamboozlement in California

Republicans trying to get California's 53 electoral votes allocated by Congressional District (two would go to the state-wide winner equaling the state's 55 EV total).

I can't believe this hasn't gotten more attention.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I think Andrew Sullivan is on to something here:

One difference between Obama and Clinton does not seem to me to have been stressed enough. They are of different Democratic generations. Clinton is from the traumatized generation; Obama isn't. Clinton has internalized to her bones the 1990s sense that conservatism is ascendant, that what she really believes is unpopular, that the Republicans have structural, latent power of having a majority of Americans on their side. Hence the fact that she reeks of fear, of calculation, of focus groups, of triangulation. She might once have had ideals keenly felt; she might once have actually relished fighting for them and arguing in thier defense. But she has not been like that for a very long time. She has political post-traumatic stress disorder. She saw her view of feminism gutted in the 1992 campaign; she saw her healthcare plan destroyed by what she saw as a VRWC; she remains among the most risk-averse of Democrats on foreign policy and in the culture wars.


Obama is different. He wasn't mugged by the 1980s and 1990s as Clinton was. He doesn't carry within him the liberal self-hatred and self-doubt that Clinton does. The traumatized Democrats fear the majority of Americans are bigoted, know-nothing, racist rubes from whom they need to conceal their true feelings and views. The non-traumatized Democrats are able to say what they think, make their case to potential supporters and act, well, like Republicans acted in the 1980s and 1990s. The choice between Clinton and Obama is the choice between a defensive crouch and a confident engagement. It is the choice between someone who lost their beliefs in a welter of fear; and someone who has faith that his worldview can persuade a majority.


The recent dust up between Obama and HRC over diplomacy is a case in point. And it applies not just to HRC, but to any GOP candidate Obama would face.

One of the Republicans playing cards for the last several decades has been their perceived "toughness" in foreign policy. But this apparent toughness is in many cases just a cloak for fear.

Consider the fear phrase HRC uttered in response to Obama during the debate: I don't want to be used as a propaganda tool. That's a statement rooted in fear. It's not a statement of confidence, particularly the statement of confidence that should emenate from the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. It demonstrates fear, a skittishness about political engagements of all kinds. It's severely risk-avoidant, perhaps neurotically so.

Monday, July 30, 2007

NAACP and Vick

I may be unduly influenced by my love of pets, but the NAACP is out of line here:

The president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP criticized the prosecution of Vick at a news conference Monday morning. Dr. R.L. White, Jr., accused the government of "piling on."

"There's a penalty in football for piling on," White told reporters. "After a player has been tackled and somebody piles on, they're penalized for unnecessary roughness. Today, the NAACP blows the whistle and warns the powers that be that you are piling on."


But there's more:

NAACP leaders urged public restraint Monday in judging Michael Vick before he has his day in court.

R.L. White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the Atlanta Falcons quarterback has been vilified by animal rights groups, talk radio and the news media and prematurely punished by his team and corporate sponsors.

"If Mr. Vick is guilty, he should pay for his crime, but to treat him as he is being treated now is also a crime," White said at a news conference.

No, it is not.

"Be restrained in your premature judgment until the legal process is completed."

Premature judgments like saying that the government is "piling on" and that the powers that be are being "warned"?

...White plans to contact Vick to see what assistance the Atlanta NAACP chapter can offer.

Vick's a millionaire many times over. The NAACP would be better off helping those with far fewer advantages in life than Vick.

White predicted that public opinion may worsen in the wake of Taylor's plea deal.

Until then, he said he would keep an open mind and encouraged others to do the same.

Georgia NAACP President Edward Dubose thanked Vick for his community service and the money and excitement he has brought to Georgia as a Falcon. Dubose said Vick is being prosecuted in the court of public opinion before he has had a chance to defend himself.

"We're not condoning bad behavior, but Michael Vick is innocent until proven guilty," Dubose said.

So that's it, huh? As long as he puts in community service hours and has brought "excitement" to Georgia as a Falcon, he gets a pass?

Atlanta chapter member Bernadette Allen attended the news conference and also a rally Sunday to support Vick.

Attend a rally to support Vick? Why? Doesn't sound like Ms. Allen is impartial. Does the "keep an open mind" apply to those charging that the government is "piling on" and those attending rallies in support of Michael Vick?

"The man is entitled to due process under the law, as is any citizen," Allen said.

Thanks for the civics lesson.