We now have empirical evidence of how long it takes the NYT to catch up to the facts. Last May 23, my Loose Canons column presented the ugly fact that Syria is, and has been since 2003, a sanctuary for terrorists killing Americans, coalition troops and Iraqis inside Iraq. The column called for covert and overt strikes into Syria to take out the terrorists in the places we knew them to be. Today, the NYT reports that, "Increasingly, officials say, Syria is to the Iraq war what Cambodia was in the Vietnam war: a sanctuary for fighters, money and supplies to flow over the border and, ultimately, a place for a shadow struggle. Five months lag time for the MSM? Not bad, all things considered.
The Spectacle Blog
In many ways, Grover Norquist, via his Washington power broker status and weekly center-right coalition meetings, is a chairman of the conservative movement. In the fiercest storms of internecine fighting, Norquist closely follows the 11th Commandment -- unless a Republican raises taxes, in which case all bets are off.
Apparently Norquist is headlining the Log Cabin Republicans' fundraiser tomorrow night. And boy, nothing gets social conservatives madder than a chairman of the conservative movement fraternizing with the intraparty enemy. The Family Research Council takes Norquist to task in its daily email today:
Brit Hume's interview of Vice President Cheney broadcast a little while ago was significant for two reasons. First, Hume asked several times, in several ways, why Cheney believes Harriet Miers has a conservative judicial philosophy. The veep dodged and ducked. Second, when given the opportunity to quash rumors that criticism of Miers came out of his office, Cheney ducked again. In this town, that's about the same as saying "yes, I criticized her." Miers is neither sunk nor high and dry.
The Miers hearings may begin on November 7. If she doesn't dazzle the committee with her scholarship, constitutional philosophy and wit -- which is possible, but seems unlikely -- her nomination will fail. The bar hasn't been set low for Miers. It has been set even higher than it was for John Roberts.
Stop the presses. Walter Cronkite, the most revered figure in American television news history, offers a solution to the Democratic Party's political difficulties in time for 2006. The idea is not to "concentrate on the Bush administration's failures" but to offer "alternative programs to fix" what is "wrong with the Republican agenda."
But how can the party "command the greatest public attention for its positive agenda"? Easy. "It could within weeks call an extraordinary midterm convention to draw up its platform."
There's goods news here for McCain fans too: "The convention would not need to be expensive." Indeed, "the delegates could be those who attended the 2004 convention. Their meeting would be open to the public and of course the press." Of course.
Uncle Walter has long been a player at political conventions. Remember 1980, when he was ready to broker a co-presidency deal between Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford?
Pop Quiz: Who would make a better Supreme Court Justice?
A: A real sweetheart of a liberal instrumentalist
B: A boorish jerk of a conservative originalist
Unless the answer is "A," I don't see what's so persuasive about Scully's op-ed.
If you need a little cheery news while we remain quagMiered (which I suspect is better than being beRoved), take a look at the Bloomberg report that says French wine producers have about 838 million gallons in unsold inventory. The French share of the world market is suffering from competition (!) from Australia and California, as well as Spain and Argentina. Even the hitherto secure UK market, less French wine is being sold. Another reason for the oversupply is that the average Frenchman is drinking only half of what he was in 1960. The annual consumption has fallen to a minuscule 73 bottles per year. Government-ordered production cuts threaten unemployment for an unknown number of the 240,000 people now in the French wine industry. We must all pitch in to help this weekend. I suggest a very crisp California or Washington State cabernet, or a nice Italian barolo.
If the Miers nomination is saved, Matthew Scully's N.Y. Times op-ed today in defense of her, his former boss when he was a Bush speechwriter, will be seen as the turning point. It turns the tables on such critics as David Frum, Scully's former junior colleague on the Bush speechwriting team, by noting while they were out cashing in she was dutifully, selflessly advancing this administration's commitments, utterly indifferent to the blandishments even conservatives now routinely succumb to. "[A]ll of us who leave our White House jobs and go on to write and trade on our service to the president could stand to learn more from Harriet Miers about service to a president," he writes.
Frum, it might be remembered, parlayed a brief White House stint into a hot memoir, The Right Man, whose every catty aside ("Missed you at Bible study") has been used against Bush. It was exactly the sort of experience that left the White House operation wary of outsiders whose primary loyalties weren't necessarily to the President.
The Rove story illustrates once again that the mainstream media are in the business not of reporting theÂ news but ofÂ manufacturing it. Their reporting largelyÂ consists of reporting onÂ news they've made -- events that happenÂ only because of theirÂ baiting and manipulation -- with no mention of their involvement inÂ the event's creation. Reporters are likeÂ people who cause car crashes, then wander up to the scene and ask innocently, "What happened?"Â
NoticeÂ a minor example of this in theÂ New York Times' Rove story.Â TheÂ TimesÂ omnisciently reports, without mentioningÂ its participation in the juvenileÂ stalking, that Rove "nosed" his "Jaguar out of the garage" in the predawn gloom and "flashed his blinding high beams into the camera lenses and sped by." The Times can't bring itself to admit that it now operates at the level of the paparazzi. So it strains to bring dignity to its stalking by pretending like it is documenting for some high-minded reason how an important government offiicialÂ spends his day during a crisis.
When the first excuse doesn't succeed, try, try again. Baseball playoffs and the Virginia gubernatorial race. Seemingly unrelated, right? Well, yes. However, both are quite serious enterprises which demand a great deal of attention and money in October. And both have a couple potential goats who are revising their explanations after their first attempts largely failed.
In the world of the Nation's Pasttime, umpire Doug Eddings is backpedaling from his no fault position on his call in Wednesday night's Angels-White Sox game. Following the game Wednesday, Eddings was defensive in the interview room. Now, ESPN reports that Eddings wishes that he had "been more emphatic" in calling the third strike "no catch." No apology, really. And unlikely to quiet the hordes of Angels fans. Okay, they're probably not hordes, but MLB had a security escort for him at the airport in Southern California.