The Spectacle Blog

Remnick on Clinton

By on 9.14.06 | 11:51AM

Last night, I read David Remnick's very very long New Yorker profile on Bill Clinton, in which he follows Clinton around Africa as Clinton does work on AIDS. For those who don't have time to read the whole piece, this press release highlights many of the key parts and the magazine's website also posted an interview with Remnick, in which he discusses the story. Putting aside Remnick's gushing over Clinton, which is par for the course for the New Yorker, I thought the piece went on far too long and lacked a clear focus. Remnick obviously had a high degree of access, but I think he assumes that the reader will be as interested as he was in every little detail of his trip with Clinton.

Re: Radical Rosie

By on 9.14.06 | 11:03AM

Hunter, the "radical Christian" trope is a tired staple of the left, as you know. Some years back, Andrew Sullivan put it forth most tiringly, and I wrote a column, called "The Politics of Horniness," for Enter Stage Right, here.

I concluded:

What does Andrew Sullivan really mean? If Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are no better than Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, what should we do? Send Green Berets to root out The 700 Club? Or does Sullivan mean that Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden are no worse than Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson? If so, we could simply exile them from the A list of the Eastern seaboard. Maybe let them host a late-night down-market cable television show.

The Chafee Victory

By on 9.14.06 | 9:37AM

The Republicans put forth an impressive effort in Rhode Island, according to The Washington Post. Would seem to bode well for them in November.

As someone who grew up in Rhode Island (with a lot of family still there), I think there is no way in hell that Laffey was going to win there. As much as Chafee triggers my gag reflex, there is something to be said for making the strategic choice in this situation. Retaining the majority in the current unstable, insecure atmosphere of terror and war is important.

Unless Chafee wins and then fails to vote for the GOP caucus nominee for Majority Leader. Then you can throw what I wrote above out the window.

The Dems’ Security Agenda

By on 9.14.06 | 8:45AM

The Washington Times today has a "we're not Softees on terrorism" article about the Democrats, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi determined not to be "Swift-Boated:"

Part of national security, said the House's top Democrat, is protecting the environment.

"We are advancing tough and smart national security policies to keep the American people safe," said Mrs. Pelosi, adding that Democrats' national security agenda aims "to fight terrorism and defeat it, stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to stop global warming and any other threats to the safety and security of the American people."

Kevin Madden, spokesman for House Majority Leader John A. Boehner, said the remark reflects a broader national security weakness by Democrats.

"The American people want a strong posture against the global scourge of terrorism and all Democrats can offer is Nancy Pelosi's babble putting that fight on par with global warming," he said.

Getting Hosed with Goldwater

By on 9.14.06 | 12:18AM

In Your Heart, You Know He's Right.

But it looks like the upcoming HBO documentary about Barry Goldwater is not going to be a right-wing affair, or even balanced. Check out the paragraph at the HBO site telling us who will be featured:

"Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater includes interviews with Senators Edward Kennedy, Hillary Rodham Clinton (a onetime "Goldwater Girl") and John McCain (who succeeded Goldwater in Arizona); former TV anchorman Walter Cronkite, humorist Al Franken; TV correspondent Robert MacNeil; former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee; author George Will; 60 Minutes Andy Rooney; CBS News' Bob Schieffer; White House reporter Helen Thomas; political consultant James Carville; former White House Counsel John Dean . . ."

What's missing from this list? How about Bill Buckley? How about William Rusher? Pat Buchanan, maybe? How about a few extra conservatives? I'm predicting a screw-job along the lines of how the party has lost its way, unlike the pristine Dems, of course.

Ring Around the Radical Rosie

By on 9.13.06 | 11:40PM

Rosie O'Donnell brought forth a nice round of applause from the live audience of The View when she proclaimed that "Radical Christianity is just as dangerous as Radical Islam!"

A few observations and questions here:

1. I'm guessing the network execs were thrilled. Insulting giant swaths of the potential viewing audience is always a great strategy. Is it just possible that the stay-at-home moms available to watch the show might be more likely a bit on the traditional side?

2. What does Rosie mean by "Radical Christianity"? I tend to think Mother Theresa. I mean, she was really sold out for the gospel and was really, really pro-life. Christians who would run around blowing up innocent people would qualify as bad Christians by virtually any standard. I don't know enough about Islam to say the same about Muslims.

3. Is Rosie aiming for a political show in the timeslot behind Keith Olbermann? How can a man be so right about sports and so terribly, terribly wrong about politics and culture?

Re: Baker’s Coven

By on 9.13.06 | 9:06PM

Quin, I'm not so hagridden with doubt over Baker. April Glaspie said what she said (you can read the Wikiversion here), but my understanding is that the alleged US "green light" for an Iraqi move on Kuwait was based on the consistent understanding that at issue was no more than a border dispute. My understanding is that this border dispute involved claims that Kuwait had been oil drilling, at an angle, across the (disputed) borderline -- that is, down into Iraqi deposits. According to this interpretation the United States took the not inane stance that if Iraq wanted to move troops a mile or so into Kuwait to correct this scheming behavior then America would not rain holy hellfire down on Baghdad.

It thus (as I understand it) came as a rude embarrassment when Saddam decided to move not a mile into Kuwait but a mile within the Saudi border. At that point Baker really took over -- crafting the first and last multinational alliance to include both the USA and the Soviet Union. (Although Baker's superhuman efforts fell short of the likes of Yemen he roped in Syria, too.)