The Spectacle Blog
The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes reports today on Oprah Winfrey's latest "giveaway" to one of her studio audiences. In the past she has lavished automobiles and diamond watches, but she called this her "favorite giveaway ever." This one placed a $1,000 debit card in the hands of each audience member, but there was a catch:
Maybe John Kerry would have been better off donning hunting gear and bagging some goose in Ohio. Instead he shot himself in the foot and his beloved party -- right between the eyes. But JFK remains a gift that keeps on giving in other ways too. His first explanation was that he was actually referring to Bush, ha, ha, a rather stupid thing to say if only because Bush had better grades than Kerry at Yale. Now he's apparently revised that to say it was all a joke. In other words, it was something he picked up last Christmas in Cambodia. Who needs an Osama intervention when we have John Kerry reporting for duty instead?
This is the real John Kerry, everything anyone needs to know about the man. His defenders will be out any moment to claim that what he said wasn't meant to slight the troops, and Kerry himself will respond with his usual weasel qualifications, but it's there for anyone who wants to listen.
This goes beyond the traditional lefty critique of military service as class-based victimhood. Instead, Kerry places the "blame" for being a soldier on the troops themselves: if you hadn't been out drinking beer and chasing girls all the time, loser, you wouldn't be worried about IEDs right now. You'd be doing something really useful to humanity, like writing ad copy or studying post-structuralism. You'd probably be invited to parties where you could talk about global life expectancy charts, early child learning, and global warming. Your life would have attained the highest desirable state, that of complete removal of all risk and danger and the pursuit of abstraction. Your hands would be soft, your skin fully moisturized, and your fiber intake right where it needs to be. Instead, you threw it all away.
Unless you've been traveling the hinterlands with Borat the last few months, you probably already know what the Center for Media and Public Affairs is confirming today: that coverage of Democratic candidates during this campaign season is overwhelmingly favorable to them. Among the findings, as reported by USA Today:
I'm sure by now most readers saw John Kerry's comments:
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in
In case you haven't seen the video, you can watch it here.
Bold prediction: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not be our next president.
Richard Cohen has a column in today's Washington Post speculating that the billionaire "might" run, and he bases this on some groundbreaking investigative reporting:
I say "might" because Bloomberg has gone from the firm "no" he offered me some months ago to a more intriguing "I'm considering it" that he offered someone I talked with recently. Indeed, among this city's moneyed, journalistic (not, alas, the same thing), entertainment, financial and other sorts of elites, there are always one or two at the table who say, with great solemnity, that they happen to know Bloomberg will indeed run for president as an independent. Knowing my duty, I called the Bloomberg people and asked if that is the case. By press time, as they say in the movies, I had yet to hear back. I take that as a wobbly affirmation.
Paul, just to add to your point about 1994 being different. Not only is there the national security issue this time around, but Democrats still haven't run an ideologically-based campaign the way Republicans did in 1994. Democrats have largely benefited from Republican mistakes rather than advancing a broad agenda to reform Washington rooted in a governing philosophy. The closest thing they have to a "Contract With America" is the "New Direction For America," but it reads like a laundry list: raising the minimum wage, negotiating lower drug prices, expanding college aid, etc. Of course, there's one other important difference between the two election years. In 1994, Republicans needed to gain 40 seats (they ended up gaining 52), but this year the magic number for Democrats is just 15.
If you only care about spending, then perhaps you can make the case for divided government. But, even then, it depends on the circumstances. The 1994-2000 period was a special case where you had a Republican Party that (at least early on) was dedicated to shrinking the size of government, and a Democratic president who was willing to triangulate. But should the Democrats gain control of one or both chambers of Congress, they certainly won't be slashing spending, and President Bush has shown absolutely no interest in doing so either. Perhaps, as some have suggested, he would be more willing to veto spending bills coming from a Democratic Congress, but that's a big question mark--after all this is the man who gave us No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescrition drug benefit. Perhaps, in another time, it might be worth taking the risk and voting for divided government. But, as David pointed out, there's that whole issue of fighting terrorism.