The Spectacle Blog

Jeb Should Run

By on 5.11.06 | 3:19PM

Okay, why isn't anybody saying the obvious, which is that Jeb Bush's failure to recruit anybody to run for U.S. Senate from Florida -- even though he has trashed the chances of Rep. Katherine Harris for the same seat -- is a tremendous black eye for Jeb and for President Bush. One would think that with all the power of the presidency and the governorship, Florida Republicans should be able to field a formidable candidate. That they haven't done so is a travesty, and quite simply a failure to fulfill a political responsibility. Right now the only other potential candidate seems to be Rep. Mark Foley, who was going to run several years ago before his father got ill. Jeb should find a way to get Foley to run...or to get Gen. Tommy Franks to run... or to talk Jack Nicklaus into running. ..... Wait a minute; forget all that: Why is there NO clamor for Jeb himself to run? He failed to find an alternative, so why is there no pressure on him to fill the gap? With leadership comes responsibility. Jeb clearly has a chance to win the race; indeed, would probably be considered at least a slight favorite from the minute he enters.

Huckabee’s Knuckleheaded Move

By on 5.11.06 | 2:25PM

Every so often I see Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee listed as a possible GOP presidential contender for 2008, and I don't know whether to chuckle or to scream out a warning. I worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for 14 months; when I first went there, I thought Huckabee was a white knight. Just 14 months later, I had concluded he was pretty much a jack...er, well, not a jack-rabbit, put it that way. He is incredibly thin-skinned; he has a blind eye for ethical problems because, you see, he's a Baptist minister, and that makes it outrageous even to question his ethics OR even the ethics of those who work for him. Or at least that's his attitude. Of course, what that meant was a whole series of stupid, almost petty, ethics-related imbroglios while I was there, and at one point the governor actually threatened to sue the state's very highly regarded Ethics Commission. It led me, on a TV appearance, to question just how dumb Huck must be: "Imagine the headlines," I said: "Governor versus Ethics, in big bold letters."

What brings these reflections on is the following story, forwarded to me via e-mail:

Which Is It, Harry?

By on 5.11.06 | 1:08PM

Harry Reid is awfully confused why the $100 gas rebate failed. From a Democratic Party fundraising email today:

As gas prices rose to above $3 a gallon last week, President Bush, his Administration officials, and their Senate allies came out in full force to do damage control. They know their jobs and their far-right agenda are at stake this November. In a hasty attempt to appease voters, Senator Frist proposed a $100 rebate financed by changing an accounting loophole that allows the oil and gas industry to pay lower taxes. His own party members balked at the overt pandering to voters, with Senator Conrad of Montana saying, "there're some dumb ideas in this." [Houston Chronicle, 4/29/06] But it was heavy pressure from Big Oil that ultimately drove Senator Frist to retreat from the plan.

It is well established that constituents revolted against the insulting pandering -- Reid had it right the first time. But that doesn't fit his party's narrative (which depends on pandering). All the facts aside, Big Oil did it. Right.

Lewis Now Under the Scope

By on 5.11.06 | 1:04PM

U.S. Attorneys are now investigating House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.).

Of course, liberals seize on it. They seem to live in some fantasy world where the problem is the party at the wheel, and not the fact that an incredibly large government is a corrupting one.

I will presume Lewis innocent until proven guilty. But it is worth noting that this is the same Jerry Lewis who last month tried to scuttle budget reforms and helped load up the emergency appropriations bill. These guys operate on appropriations, not principle. So color me unsurprised when any of them abuses his office and runs afoul of the law.

Government: The Problem and the Solution

By on 5.11.06 | 11:06AM

George Will takes on John McCain's disparagement of First Amendment rights as only George Will can.

The way he describes McCain's contradictory belief that government is inherently corrupt but is the best agent to regulate speech brings to mind the mafia's protection racket. Like the mafia, John McCain strolls up to a shop owner's door, and informs him he is going to have some trouble. But he can avoid that trouble if he just hands over a little here and a little there. In the mafia's case, it is money. In John McCain's case, it is free speech. Then in the form of campaign finance regulation, McCain and his allies provide the protection from the problem they fashioned. But the only one truly protected in any protection racket is the extortionist. Incumbents stay incumbents.

Maybe the White House Needs More Memos

By on 5.11.06 | 10:42AM

I treated the Washington Post story about conservatives souring on Bush with sarcasm this morning (see below), but it appears that the White House doesn't realize it or doesn't care. (My guess is number two.)

The last paragraph gives away the whole cynical game:

Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser, and GOP leaders are well aware of the problem and are planning a summer offensive to win back conservatives with a mix of policy fights and warnings of how a Democratic Congress would govern. The plan includes votes on tax cuts, a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, new abortion restrictions, and measures to restrain government spending.

This is how it works: they neglect the base until: 1- they kick and scream to high heaven (Harriet Miers), or 2- it's an election year. This year, they're offering tokens (sorry, but that's what the marriage amendment and minor abortion restrictions are) or things long overdue (tax cuts -- and only extensions at that).

Qualifying Wallace

By on 5.11.06 | 10:28AM

(This was just posted on the main page -- reposting here in case you miss it there.)

At least five of the 15 members American Bar Association qualifications review panel who evaluated the legal background of Mississppi's Michael Wallace, a former legal aide to Sen. Trent Lott, were charter members of the American Constitution Society, the liberal knock-off of the Federalist Society.

The panel has garnered attention in the past 36 hours after rating Wallace, nominated to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, as "unqualified."

"This is a guy who is extremely bright and talented as a legal mind," says a former classmate of Wallace's at the University of Virginia Law School. "He clerked for a Supreme Court justice [Rehnquist]. He's served our nation in positions of responsibility and performed well [Wallace was appointed to head the Legal Services Corp. by President Reagan]. This is not a case of the President nominating some ambulance chaser. This is a highly qualified individual."

USA Today Adopts Yale’s Taliban

By on 5.11.06 | 8:08AM

If former Taliban spokesgoon Sayed Hashemi is tossed out of Yale - where he's trying to upgrade into a degree-granting program - he can probably get a job as an editorial writer at USA Today. That's a fair guess based on their editorial today.

The editorial is a gooey morass of liberal psychobabble, decrying America's lousy diplomacy in the western world. It says -- and I'm not making this up -- that allowing Hashemi to stay at Yale is a "...rare opportunity to promote mutual understanding..." that might be "...torpedoed by shortsighted opposition."

The editorial labels the Taliban regime "bizarre" without adding any other facts or adjectives. Terrorist and murderous come to mind as some essentials USA Today omits. It also apologizes for the unapologetic Hashemi, saying some of his widely publicized remarks were "naive."

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