The Spectacle Blog

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.)

Air America Bankruptcy

By on 9.13.06 | 4:48PM

The best bit in that Think Progress article for me, Dave, is the last graph:

Radio giant Clear Channel is so committed to progressive talk radio that, this week, it will announce a partnership with the Center for American Progress and MSS Inc. to conduct a nationwide search for the next Progressive Talk Radio Star.

Wait, I thought Clear Channel was the arm of the Evil Empire homogenizing American culture and signaling the End of All Things Good? I guess corporate behemoths are alright if they're carrying the right (left) bucket of water.

This is nothing new, by the way. I wrote about progressive's love/hate relationship with Clear Channel a while back. None of that is going to stop me, of course, from trying my very best to be America's next Progressive Talk Radio Star.

Reform? What reform?

By on 9.13.06 | 4:02PM

Just now catching up on smaller news items from yesterday and, behold, amidst the justifiable rejoicing that occurs as Congress passes language requiring more transparency for spending earmarks (a hat tip to The DC Examiner's Mark Tapscott and many conservative bloggers for that one), there is much reason, again, to be disgusted with Congress: According the the WashPost, this worthy earmark-related bill is supposed to suffice as the entirety of internal congressional reforms, after promises in January from Speaker Hastert and others that serious lobbying reform/gift reform would take place. So citizens can remain assured that their Reps and senators are still able to accept golf junkets and ritzy free meals while pretending that they aren't swayed legislatively as a result. These people are incorrigible. If not literally, then at least figuratively, they are crooks. Bleep every last one of them.

To be clear, the problem is NOT with lobbyists, it is with a Congress whose rules and behavior makes lobbying, by virtual invitation, a matter less of exercising reasoned persuasion than of spreading around enough goodies to be paid attention to.

Think Progress and Orwell

By on 9.13.06 | 3:32PM

Get a load of this headline over at Think Progress:

Air America To Declare Bankruptcy, But Progressive Radio Remains Strong

Here is the, um, reasoning:

The right wing is sure to seize on Air America's financial woes as a sign that progressive talk radio is unpopular. In fact, Air America succeeded at creating something that didn't exist: the progressive talk radio format. That format is now established and strong and will continue with or without Air America. Indeed, many of the country's most successful and widely-syndicated progressive talk hosts - Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, for instance - aren't even associated with Air America.

Problem is, Air America is pretty much the elephant in the pup tent. To say that progressive radio remains strong despite the demise of Air America is like saying that the Roman Empire is still strong despite the sacking of Rome.

Tough Steele

By on 9.13.06 | 2:35PM

The Maryland Democratic primary did not turn out the way the Republican Party might have liked, and Real Clear's analysis is interesting, but folks need to remember that the key to Rep. Ben Cardin's victory was Baltimore City, which he has represented forever. This will not be an easy race for Steele, but he has the money and the backing to pull it off, particularly if he can exceed the African-American support that he got back in 2002.

Baker’s Coven

By on 9.13.06 | 2:09PM

This report in Washington Monthly could be good news, or it could be bad. It says that Jim Baker is becoming the key man for an end game in Iraq. While Baker clearly is good at managing end games, and is ruthlessly competent, I think more of the tea leaves here point to the WRONG end game. It looks to me like Baker is intent on managing an exit strategy, when what is needed is a VICTORY strategy. Anything that involves the former without the latter would be a cop-out and a betrayal of all who have fought and been injured or died in Iraq. Of course, it was Jim Baker's State Department (April whassername) who gave Saddam the clear impression that he could waltz into Kuwait unmolested in 1990 in the first place, and Baker has always been far less of a friend to Israel than to wrongheaded (and in effect, anti-Israeli) notions of "stability" on a region. Sept. 11 of 2001 showed us what a fat lot of good "stability" did us.