We used to think, he’ll never talk alone. But that was before we got the picture. There he is, standing in the middle of nowhere to the southwest of the West Wing, at a mini-podium, next to a mini-table, accompanied by no one, not even the teleprompter twins. And he’s saying something mean about Putin, a repeat actually of what he’d said about Putin three days earlier. So much for the flexibility he said he’d have in dealing with Russia. A change of locations doesn’t count. No doubt he replayed his anti-Putinisms in La La Land yesterday, but the press and cameras weren’t there, so we’ll never know, unless the Russkies let us know themselves.
Even with our leader receding from view, the Democrats had a strong week. The New York Times can take much of the credit. In Wednesday’s editions, it exposed the Putinesque qualities of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Andy had promised to expose corruption in Albany. But when the commission he created ended up exposing the corruption of Cuomo himself, he put the kibosh on its work. The Times thought that was unbecoming. “It’s my commission,” he responded. “I can’t ‘interfere’ with it, because it is mine. It is controlled by me.” According to the Times, he spent 13 pages of his own saying that. When the dust settles, the Times may have to share its Pulitzer with Cuomo himself.
An unlikely Pulitzerean is Montana Senator pro tem, the Hon. John Walsh. That’s because his masterly prose turned out to belong, as the Times announced yesterday on page 1, to a wide range of analysts and scholars from such unsuspecting institutions as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Belfer Center at Harvard. The 14-page term paper he needed to write to earn his M.A. seven years ago thus falls under the category of damaged goods and is unlikely to be excerpted in his campaign ads this fall. Will this case of unadulterated plagiarism hurt his candidacy? His first instinct was to blame it on post-Iraq combat fatigue while adding, “I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD,” a sure sign he’s more than ready to serve long and hard under Harry Reid.
National Democrats say they stand behind Walsh 100 percent. But they’re no longer as gleeful about holding on to Walsh’s seat as they were on hearing late last year that Max Baucus would be leaving it to become Ambassador to China and that Walsh, then Montana’s lieutenant governor, would be named his successor. As the Times put it, well before it was on its current roll, Walsh’s appointment and months of incumbency “could increase the Democrats’ chances of retaining that seat — one seen as crucial to Republicans’ efforts to win back the Senate.”
This was “the first break Democrats have gotten in some time,” it added.
Not everything adds up. In between secretive fundraisers and sticking out his tongue at V.V. Putin, our president found time to play the separatist. Statehood for the District of Columbia? “I’m for it,” he declared when asked about it. So by his count that will leave us with 58 states. The death panel wing of the Democratic coalition is pressuring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign from the Supreme Court now, lest her successor be named by the current president’s Republican successor. A culture of death is never confident about its chances. That’s a good sign. So is the vituperative reaction to Tuesday’s circuit court ruling based on an actual reading of the Affordable Care Act. The best reaction could be found in the New Republic — in a reader’s comment:
In 2010, Nancy Pelosi famously claimed that Congress needed to pass Obamacare in order to find out what’s in it. Well, a federal court just read Obamacare and found out what wasn’t in it: tax credit subsidies for federal exchange health plans…
There you have it, a perfect example of the “anti-democratic sabotage,” of which E.J. Dionne accuses the D.C. court in his latest temper tantrum. Folks like him no longer take the meaning of words to mean anything. So let’s say we name E.J. Enemy of the Week. He’ll say we’re defying the will of Congress and denying millions of Americans desperately needed health insurance. As if an EOW prize could ever diminish his status. We look forward to his defense of Sen. John Walsh.