The Spectacle Blog

Olmert Falling

By on 1.20.06 | 1:14PM

Trusted source from Israeli politics indicates that support for Olmert and the Kadima Party is soft and likely to fall away over the next weeks to the March election. Olmert polls about 40 plus seats right now, which would give Kadima the power hand to form a coalition in the Knesset. However, this number includes all the Russians, who will reconsider, and a generous count of the Labor and Likud types who are still persuaded that the now absent Sharon and now decayed Peres represent the comfortable future. These shaky votes will drift.

Also, Olmert will now be tested by the witches of the terror gangs, and he will struggle to answer. Olmert is by training a politician: he chooses between sides and shines. We call it triangulation. It does not work when faced with the bombers. Hamas and Al Aqsa and Islamic Jihad regard Olmert as weak and a U.S. pet. HizbAllah does not fear Olmert, as they know he will not send the tanks north again to Lebanon. And the Egyptians regard Olmert as an acting mayor.

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Providence College Bans V Monologues

By on 1.20.06 | 12:47PM

My alma mater's new president, Fr. Brian Shanley, has seen the light on the Vagina Monologues. After administrators had feared for years to take a stand on the vulgar feminist program, Shanley has taken a commendable stand.

Shanley wrote a letter to the college yesterday:

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Release the Rest

By on 1.20.06 | 10:02AM

RET's erstwhile co-author Brian McGuire reports in the New York Sun today that Congressional Republicans aren't yet giving up on releasing the rest of the Barrett Report. Among options they're considering: committee investigations, forcing the release through legislation, or continuing press on the three-judge panel overseeing the independent counsel. The Democrats and major media want to relegate this report to partisan non-event status. Republicans and the blogs need to fight back by keeping up the pressure.

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Special Interest Filibuster

By on 1.20.06 | 9:31AM

The only folks in Washington seriously advocating a filibuster are extreme liberals with nothing to lose, like the National Organization for Women.

Strangely, even the People for the American Way doesn't mention the "f" word on its home page or its Stop Alito petition. PFAW doesn't seem to take its own Alito opposition seriously: just take a look at its laughably apocalyptic flash flick, "It's a Less Wonderful Life." If Alito on the Court would be so bad, why not advocate a filibuster? My guess is that Ralph Neas understand the political and legal realities where the Nags don't: Alito will be a fine justice. PFAW's holding their fire for the really conservative nominee.

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And Iran: Iran, So Far Away

By on 1.20.06 | 9:00AM

Ebrahim Sheibani, nimble and quick, tells the world in his capacity as Tehran's top banker that Iran has o'erleaped the singeing candle of "smart" sanctions -- by pulling its foreign currency reserves out of European banks.

Those cruising Drudge lately will also have learned in old-school counterpoint that -- as human paragon of international law and Nobel Laureate M. ElBaradei refuses to condemn Iran -- non-Laureate Jacques Chirac has started talking up the nuclear option against any would-be terrorist enemy of France. It appears, perhaps not yet a day late and dollar short, that the French leadership understands the limits of diplomacy backed by more panicked diplomacy.

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Grant, Not McAuliffe

By on 1.20.06 | 8:27AM

Today's NY Sun editorial entitled "Nuts!" imagines the famous response of BGen. Anthony McAuliffe, commander of the 101st Airborne surrounded and besieged in Bastogne in December 1944, to be what President Bush will say in response to bin Laden's truce offer. Forget for the moment that witnesses insist that Gen. McAuliffe's response was far more colorful (and less printable in family magazines) than a mere "nuts." But remember his role: besieged, only able to hang on bravely until relief arrived.

It would have been better for the Sun to put the president in the shoes of Grant at Vicksburg. When the Rebels sought terms, Grant demanded unconditional surrender. On his very worst day, Johnny Reb didn't come close to the level of evil OBL achieves at his most benign. If the troglodyte terrorist chief were in the president's shoes, he'd accept nothing less than America's utter destruction. He should -- and will -- get from G.W. Bush worse, much worse, than the Rebels got from U.S. Grant.

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Bootless State Department

By on 1.19.06 | 9:41PM

Conversation with Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar, chief of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, who treats PA President Abbas as a used car. The election next week, January 25, will deliver overwhelmingly to Hamas in Gaza and will demonstrate that the Palestinian Authority is a ruse. There is no authority. There are factions within the landscape that have divided loyalties and paymasters. The coalition will consist of Hamas, Al Aqsa, Islamic Jihad, HizbAllah, the Popular Resistance Committee, the PFLP and so forth. I asked al-Zahar if, as a major leader of the Coalition, if he would negotiate with the UN or the Quartet with regard the so-called Road Map. He was adamant. No road map after the elections.

The US State Department depends upon the road map as if it were holy writ. Up ahead is an unknown country. No guides. Bootless.

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OBL Speaks of Truce

By on 1.19.06 | 6:51PM

How long will it be before the first Dem says we should talk to bin Laden about his truce offer? It is only a matter of time until one of them does. Is there one among the Dems who will say we will not speak of truces with terrorists, that their unconditional surrender is the only condition on which this war can possibly end? Is there one of Dean's lemmings who will say that the terrorist ideology will bring only misery, suffering and death to bin Laden’s adherents and their kin in Iran, Syria and wherever else they may be?  No. There is none such among the party of George McGovern. It is left to us to say, play the degüello. We are not the barbarians we fight, so those who choose to surrender will be treated humanely. And the rest will be killed, just as fast we can find them.

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Re: Nuancing the Hillary

By on 1.19.06 | 6:21PM

Apropos of that, Mickey Kaus wrote yesterday:

P.S.: The Michael Goodwin NYDN piece linked above ably outlines the Essential Hillary Dilemma: She's supposed to be the candidate who has the base locked up and can appeal to the center. But thanks to her Iraq vote she now has to re-lock the base while simultaneously appealing to the center. An effective politician might accomplish this while projecting an interesting, variegated, forceful identity. An ineffective politician will look as if she has no identity at all, other than her fabled ambitious calculation. Goodwin:
All this zigzagging from left to right and back again on abortion, health care and national defense is supposed to make her look like a centrist.

It's just making her look confused.

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Nuancing the Hillary

By on 1.19.06 | 4:07PM

So -- as Jim points out -- the Junior Senator from New York believes President Bush is understating the threat that Iran’s nuclear program poses. According to The Daily Princetonian (not to be confused with the journal of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton), Ms. Clinton said, “"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations.” Where is Hillary going?

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