The Spectacle Blog

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."

A.M. Rosenthal, RIP

By on 5.11.06 | 12:33AM

The New York Times has just reported that Abe Rosenthal died yesterday in Manhattan. He was 84. The story won't tell you that he was its last great editor, its last honest liberal and genuine defender of freedom, standards, and intellectual rigor. He's been missed for years. Now he'll be even more greatly missed.

Judicial Watch

By on 5.10.06 | 6:29PM

Talk about going around the bend. Judicial Watch released the Secret Service visitor logs that it had fought to receive related to the number of visits made to the White House complex by Jack Abramoff.

Turns out Abramoff visited twice. It's important for everyone to remember that while those visits were going on -- all two of them -- Abramoff and his crew of merry influence peddlers were shopping their wares much more often up on Capitol Hill. And they were selling a lot in the offices of Democrats. Two visits to Dems? Hardly.

Now there may be other White House visits, and there may be more to all of this. But the language that Judicial Watch uses to describe the situation is just embarrassing and the kind of overheated, hysterical hype more befitting Howard Dean and It identifies the visits as by "convicted felon" Abramoff. Well, he wasn't a felon when he made the visits.

Fellow Shawn

By on 5.10.06 | 6:16PM

We would be remiss not to mention the events of last evening when our very own Shawn Macomber was awarded a full-time Journalism Fellowship from the Phillips Foundation. He gave a delightful acceptance speech, which incidentally had the audience rolling with laughter and admiration.

Congratulations, Shawn!


By on 5.10.06 | 4:36PM

Wallace received a poorer rating than Brett Kavanaugh, and for the same reason that Kavanaugh has been suffering through delays: his role in the impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton.

The Clintons now exert a remarkable amount of influence, particularly during election cycles. The Democrats feel they can attack these Republican nominees with impunity.