From the latest James Carville/Stanley Greenberg Democracy Corps memo:
“When all is said and done—after they have engaged on these battles and raised their agenda—Democrats want voters to conclude some very simple but powerful things. They may or may not articulate them, but Democrats should understand where they want people to end up.”
“About the Republicans
They work for the few.
For the corporate special interest.
Corruption and greed.
No rise in income and no relief from high prices in sight.
No end in sight in Iraq
America needs a new direction”
“About the Democrats
They’re for me.
Relief on gas and health costsand middle class taxes
New course in Iraq
A new Congress that works for everyone
New direction—a strong America that works for everyone.”
Far be it from me to question the Ragin’ Cajun’s political prowess, and there are certainly some more developed ideas in the memo (a two year ban on congressional pay raise, for example), others less so (“no more Terri Schiavo all-nighters” seems like it will have less resonance as time goes on), but doesn’t he get paid a bit much to end his analysis with a list of regurgitated vague warm fuzzy slogans Dems have been riding for the past six years?
My friend, the old Middle East hand, sharpens the points he raised yesterday:
Satuday’s Washington Post carried an interesting report: “Iraqi Official Warns Against Coup Attempt.” According to the story, Hadi al-Amiri, a member of Iraq’s most powerful political party, SCIRI (Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq), cited rumors of an impending military coup. “We will not allow it,” he said.
This raises some intriguing questions:
If the U.S. and Iran came to blows as a result of Hezbollah’s war, where would the sympathies of the Iraqi people lie? The Iraqi government? The Iraqi army? Is it possible that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi army would turn its guns against us, or against a “collaborationist” government that supports us? Could this be what Iraq is trying to provoke?
Paul, Hunter, you’re both right about Lawrence Henry, even more than you’ll ever know — but this one takes the cake.
A Lawrence Henry tribute is long overdue. I’ll go Hunter Baker one better and nominate this as my personal favorite AmSpec web piece.
The most interesting thoughts I’ve read this week on our problem of problems, conveyed to me by an old Middle East hand:
“If the U.S. and Iran came to blows as a result of Hezbollah’s war, where would the sympathies of the Iraqi people lie? The Iraqi government? The Iraqi army? Is it possible that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi army would turn its guns against us? Could this be what Iran is trying to provoke?”
I’ll be on CNN with Paula Zahn about 8 pm today talking about Lebanon. Tomorrow morning I’ll be on Fox with Neil Cavuto on the same. Hope you can catch one or both.
The Prime Minister of Britain stands by America.
Richard Booth (born 1759) was the great great great great grandfather of the Prime Minister’s wife, Cherie Boothe Blair.
His grandson John, however, is the most famous, having assassinated our sixteenth president just a few hundred yards from where the Prime Minister was standing.
Well, thank you, Hunter (I think). But I don’t know how you managed to overlook my muscles, my guns, or my way with women.
I read Lawrence Henry’s stuff and just find myself nearly hypnotized by it. There’s just something about this guy. He’s been around. He’s dropped out, blown-up, endured health problems, and come out the other end with a boatload of wisdom, savvy, and cool stories. It’s not huge muscles, guns, or a way with the ladies. It comes from just having been around, seen some things, taken some chances, and managing to learn a few things along the way. In short, there have got to be a lot of young guys looking at Larry H. as a source of retro male cool.
I hate to embarrass you Larry, but you remind me of a great scene from the largely forgotten Kevin Costner film Revenge. Costner’s character hooks up with a late middle aged horse trader who is fighting his way toward one more transaction and coughing up a lung every few minutes. The grizzled old guy pushes his hair back out of his face, dons a pair of dark sunglasses and asks Costner, “How do I look?” Costner replies, “Like a survivor.”
Damn straight. Read Lawrence Henry and check out a guy who looks like a survivor and will entertain the hell out of you telling you about it.
Apparently nothing is taboo in protesting the Bush Administration, including making children cry.
TAS editor in chief, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. will be on the radio show MoneyDots, which is streamed live, Saturday, July 29, at 11 a.m. EST. He will be followed by Ms. Ann Coulter.
Yesterday, the Washington Times boosted the case of those of us who have complained about aspects of the extension of certain counterproductive portions of the Voting Rights Act by noting that President Bush himself opposed those provisions while governor. Today the Times runs a photo that makes me sick: Karl Rove shaking the hand of and laughing with the (not very) Rev. Al Sharpton at the South Lawn ceremony at which Bush signed the extension. It’s bad enough to pander to political correctness by passing and signing a bill that is quite arguably unconstitutional and certainly unfair and bureaucratically unwieldy. It is even worse to pander to today’s ridiculous double-standards by including Sharpton, of all people, among the guests invited to the ceremony. Sharpton is a well known and well documented fomenter not of racial harmony but of absolutely dangerous, indeed deadly, racial discord. Even worse is the timing of effectively honoring Sharpton, through this invitation, at the very time that Israel is engaged in pitched battles with terrorists. What does Israel have to do with it? Well, Sharpton’s past has repeatedly given rise to serious charges of anti-Semitism. The worst was the arguably Sharpton-inspired lynching of a rabbinical student during the Crown Heights riots in 1991. Said Sharpton then: “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”
Why is this man at the White House, why is Karl Rove laughing with him, and why is he even welcome ANYWHERE in polite company?!?!?!?
Because I’m not a scientist, I was afraid to say this even though everything I THOUGHT I had read would seem to back it up, but…the one seemingly obvious flaw in the whole case against Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is that one day’s boost of testosterone (unlike, say, blood doping, which actually increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the human body) should not be able to noticeably improve performance, but the spike in testosterone from a deliberate attempt at cheating would be easily and automatically detected in testing, SO: What sense would it make for Landis to have even tried cheating, for one day only, by use of a testosterone patch, knowing how closely the testing was being done? The guy had been tested throughout the Tour, with no noticeable signs of testosterone abnormalities, so he clearly had no long-term cheating program underway. One would have to believe the guy unbelievably stupid to think he would cheat in such an easily detectable way for almost no benefit.
But since nobody else brought this up, I thought maybe I was mistaken in my understanding of the science.
Now comes this note, though, buried in a very interesting longer piece in the Wall Street Journal: “Gary Wadler, a physician and a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said he doesn’t think the test results add up because Mr. Landis didn’t show an elevated ratio [of testosterone to epitestosterone] in any other tests. ‘I can’t imagine how taking a single dose of an anabolic steroid could impact performance in the sport of cycling,’ he said. ‘They need to be taken for many weeks to have an effect.’”
In short, it made no sense for Landis to cheat, and even if he had cheated, it would not have boosted his performance. His tremendous success on the last day in the Alps was his own good work, not that of a steroid.
Meanwhile, the WSJ article as a whole explains how the apparent testosterone abnormality could happen: Alcohol. It already was public knowledge that Landis, thinking he had lost the Tour after a horrible day, had been drinking beer (in public) the night before his phenomenal ride. He is now reported also to have drunk several whiskey shots. (Lance Armstrong occasionally drank alcohol, or at least beer, during his Tours as well. Think of it as a form of carbo-loading!) This is important, reports the WSJ, because scientific studies, including ones in Finland and Sweden, show that alcohol consumption can raise the hormonal ratio at issue, by as much as 200%.
By simple logic, this is a far more believable explanation for the high ratio than is a crazy, useless, utterly reckless application for one day only of a testosterone patch.
Floyd Landis is innocent. And he is a great champion.
From the standpoint of cultural anthropology, it might be said there is a form of violent tribalism, alternatively called neoconservatism or the religious right, loose in America. So try to keep in mind, when you hear someone from the right parroting talking points that climate change is invalid or that Iraq is going swell, it’s not so much an argument made from ignorance that can be corrected with information: it is a tribal chant.
Yes, but the real question is, can ignorance be corrected by comparing those with a different political outlook to the Taliban? DarkSyde at Daily Kos attempts to find out. (Get it? “Dark” + “side” with a “y” equals edgy!)
From NYSun column today FRIDAY 28: addend confirm on SA-18s. What this all creates right now is an Iran that can and will continue to resupply Hezbollah on the Lebanon front with arms, ammunition, special forces, sophisticated logistics, an intelligence apparatus, and the long-range Katyushas and missiles that pepper Israel. Supply routes from Iran to Syria are not only air lanes but also overland trucking on tribal routes through Turkey and Kurdistan. Turkey knows this and knows this is tacit support of Hizbollah and Syria. More striking is that the Kurds in northern Iraq, ostensibly America’s strongest ally in the liberation and democratization of Iraq, are openly cooperating with the Iranian military convoys. The Kurds have made a deal with Tehran that looks to the future and the establishment of an independent, oil-rich Kurdistan. The Kurds aim to drive out or massacre the minority Turkmen in their territory, and they know this will be a casus belli for Turkey. The Kurds will need Iran for an ally and also as a transportation artery to get their oil to market. The Russians must certainly know that Iran is using Turkey and Kurdistan in their war effort, and the Russians have presumably made a decision not to interfere in any fashion with their Caspian Sea neighbor and commercial partner Iran. More puzzling is how al-Maliki and the Shia/Kurd-dominated government in Baghdad might not know of the resupply. Did Maliki stand next to President Bush in a joint news conference knowing that not only are the Shia of Iraq cheering Hezbollah in Lebanon but also that Iraq is an ally of Iran and Syria in the fight? The resupply from Iran is profound because Hezbollah could not have sustained the fight past the first days without the certainty of endless weaponry and ammunition. The Lebanon war plan is to escalate one step at a time, and this requires the discipline of a confident, well-led, well-connected force. Iran will not turn off the flow. And the rearming of Lebanon through Syria also includes the very latest, best Russian- and Chinese-origin equipment, including the SA-18 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile, Sagger and Kornet antitank missiles, at least one battery of Silkworm anti-ship missiles, and multiple combinations of Zelzal-2 missiles and Fajr-3 and -5 rockets that can easily reach Tel Aviv - and, with smaller warheads, much farther, to Jerusalem. A decision to strike Jerusalem has not been announced. Nonetheless, high-explosive warheads are poised to strike civilian populations: at least one Scud-type missile has already been found underwater in Haifa harbor.
Once Wonkette, Ana Marie Cox now heads off into the MSM sunset (or is it -rise?) as Time’s Washington Editor.
“You can only write three-sentence posts for so long before you start to crave the comparatively literary world of newsmagazines,” she tells Reuters, poking the pajamanimals in the blogosphere prison whose secret jealousy will no doubt manifest in some nastiness.
The only question that remains, it would seem, is to what lofty perch Dave Weigel shall now ascend.
Club for Growth has the tallies on 19 anti-pork amendments put forward by Jeff Flake in the House of Representatives. Guess how many our fearless GOP leaders, Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt, voted for?
Big donut hole for nineteen.
The juxtaposition of the following two stories would be pricelessly ironic if it weren’t so dadgummed disgustingly sad. At the same time that Senate Dems are pulling low-blow shenanigans (the procedural move described really is cheap politics, petty and vindictive, which is why almost never used) — even after apparent passage of the bill — to block a bill merely protecting minor girls from forced or pressured abortions over state lines without parental knowledge, Gov. Corzine in New Jersey — a state that does NOT require parental consent for minors’ abortions — is signing legislation that DOES require parental consent for the use of tanning beds. (Hat tip, by the way, to Southern Appeal for noting the tanning story.) What’s wrong with this picture?
Why, pray tell, should it be tougher for a girl to get a tan than to get an abortion? What sort of twisted priorities are evidenced there?
A note on the Senate bill that the Dems are holding up: Apparently, they are carrying the water for the abortion clinic industry, which objects to provisions in the House bill that would put the onus on the abortion providers themselves to require parental consent of girls who come across state lines. If I find time, I’ll have more on the ins and outs of the Senate dispute later, including a better explanation of the procedural factors involved. But for now, the main message is that Senate Dems (or at least most of them) are so pro-abortion that they are using every trick in the book to keep it possible for minors, yes minors, to cross state lines for abortions without the consent of their parents. The fight isn’t really procedural, then, it’s moral. Surely even most reasonable “pro-choice” people should be able to agree, with the vast majority of the American public, that young girls should not easily get abortions without their parents knowing, that partial-birth abortions at least are utter abominations (Daniel Patrick Moynihan called it “infanticide”), and that other commonsense measures are needed to at least make abortions a more serious and more considered decision than, say, minor cosmetic surgery…or getting a tan.
Clearly, the city council has fallen into the hands of maniacs. The “living wage” nonsense is only the latest in a series of laws in which they’ve stuck their noses into every aspect of life. (Hat-tip to Hit & Run, where they’ve been on top of this stuff for a few days.)
Quin: I think the problem goes beyond judges. It is the tired, worn out GOP leadership in both Houses of Congress. They do not seem to understand (or they don’t care) that issues like tax cuts, spending cuts, and judges are ones that fire up the base. Futhermore, there are some good health care bills that are languishing, that could attract some swing voters if Congress would pass them (or, they might attract some swing voters if at least the GOP would make a stink about them and then campaign on them in the Fall.)
Thank goodness Bill Frist is retiring. As for Dennis Hastert, I think a coup is in order.
Well, it used to be. Smart that is.
Wow, today really is the day for home-run columns on judges. This piece by Sean Rushton at NRO is an absolute must-read. He really lays out the case for why judges are a political ace in the hole for Republicans if they only had sense enough to use the issue. Of course, asking Republican officials in DC to show good sense is like asking porpoises to swing from tree branches.
Robert Novak has an excellent column today on judicial confirmations. The White House won’t push hard enough (or get its nominees to the Senate fast enough), the Senate GOP rank and file won’t tell the leadership that it’s a priority, and the leadership won’t do quite enough (although Frist sort of/kind of intermittently “gets it”) to push the rank and file to back any plans it (the leadership) has to make judges a priority. Sen. Graham and Sen. McCain (the latter more understandably, considering his heroic history) may have legitimate concerns about “torture” of detainees, but they are blaming lawyer Jim Haynes MISTAKENLY for supposedly (but not actually) advocating torture. And Graham’s opposition to Haynes has risen (or fallen) to the level of asininity: arriving late for the hearing on Haynes, having his timeline and other facts wrong; in general, just being, to put it bluntly, a jerk. Meanwhile, Frist’s reported decision not to have any more floor time for debate on judges before the election (which is still more than THREE MONTHS AWAY) is indefensible and pathetic. Of course, if Congress didn’t take so many vacations (“district work periods” — NOT) from actual legislative work, it would have ample time to overcome Democratic delaying tactics on judges. As Norm Ornstein (I believe it was he) has shown, Congress is doing actual legislative work for fewer days per year now than at any time in decades.
Battles over judges win elections for Republicans, especially for conservatives. Why more senators don’t understand that is one of the great mysteries of modern politics. Novak justly takes the whole DC GOP to task for its failures in this regard.
There’s a report out that Tour de France winner Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone during the race. I knew that substance was prohibited in French government officials, but I wasn’t aware they had banned it in American men. It’s probably an obscure regulation put in force sometime around Christmas 1945.
No, this isn't a story from "Sesame Street" as the title might seem to portray. No, this is far more frivolous. Grover's meetings are off the record, but yesterday's meeting involved the kind of misdirection that has to be reported.
Yesterday at Grover Norquist’s "Wednesday Meeting" was attended by Jamie Brown, a former White House legislative liaison whose portfolio involved mostly judicial issues. She also was a Department of Justice political appointee during the first term, working for Attorney General John Ashcroft in the legislative shop, as well as third-party outreach. Since then, Brown has signed on with Google to be their chief policy and lobbying representative in
Brown arrived at Grover’s handing out Google hats and glad-handing, with a PR flack in tow who introduced Brown to the crowd as a solid Republican. Why the PR attention? Because Google has taken a beating over its politics and its pro-regulation approach to the Internet of late, and apparently hired Brown to make nice.
Brown stood up and claimed that she was a solid Republican, and that it was not true — as reported here - that Google gave “one red cent to Moveon.org and neither did any of its executives, adding that she couldn’t work for a company that did.
Google rightly has taken some grief for its underwriting of political activism, its relationship to MoveOn.org, its sizable investment in Al Gore’s activities over the past the three years, as well as its contributions to a group of Internet companies led by former Rep. Vin Weber that is seeking to regulate the Internet. The hiring of Brown is apparently meant to make all of that go away.
The problem is: Brown is simply wrong on the facts. Since Google executives have overwhelmingly given to Democratic causes, including MoveOn.org, and the giving is even more impressive when you consider that Google does not have a
For example, 89% of all Google giving goes to Democrats and their organizations:
$124,000 to various John Kerry committees
$63,625 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC)
$42,250 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)
$7,654 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)
About 8% went to left-wing political groups, including:
$18,765 to MoveOn.org
And, to be fair, 1% did go to Republicans
The fact is that Google has gone out of its way to fund individuals and projects in Washington that have actively worked against Republicans and conservative causes. It’s a company more than willing to get in bed with the Chinese government for the promise of a few bucks to censor pro-democratic materials from Chinese citizens. It does help fund MoveOn.org, and now is seeking federal legislation that foist the majority of costs for the Internet to consumers.
Before she stands before conservatives who are probably inclined to believe her, Brown should know the facts about her own company. Or perhaps her company is doing to her what it’s doing to the Chinese citizens – controlling what information she receives.
We’re hearing from sources close to Newt Gingrich that the reported memorandum outlining plans for a presidential run “does not exist,” and that there are no plans at this time for him to run for anything. Moreover, according to the source, Newt and his wife did have a social dinner over the weekend with another couple in Virginia’s horse country, but it was not in any way a “strategy session.”
John: A friend of mine described Pennsylvania as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between. Casey is going to have to do better than leading people to think that he will raise taxes and that he is no different from other Democrats on values issues. And, as you are well aware, the immigration issue has been HUGE this year. It animates many voters and I’m betting a lot of them are paying attention.
As for the polls, two things: I should have pointed out that a few months ago Casey was ahead of Santorum by close to twenty points, so his lead clearly is shrinking. The second one is embarrassing. The first poll I referred to was from last year. Oh boy. This D.C. heat is really getting to me.
From my NYSun column WEDNESDAY 26: addend: evidence that Iran is resupplying Syria. Via overland routes through Turkey. Iranian sureveillence equipment found in Leb At present, the Zelzal-2 missiles on their mobile launchers, under Iranian rocket crews, are deployed along the Syrian side of the Syrian-Lebanese border. When the order is given - and it may already have been - the rocket crews will push over the border crossings, park about 15 meters inside Lebanon, and launch on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Israelis will have a few minutes to shoot down the missiles, but not many, and then a warhead of a ton of high explosives will leave a hole in Israel’s confidence in fighting on alone.
I hope Mark Tooley’s analysis of Randall Balmer’s book, provocatively subtitled “How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical’s Lament,” adds to the critical momentum of Ross Douthat’s piece in First Things about that book and other similarly themed tomes.
I’m not sure what Balmer thinks he is doing writing a book like that. He’s an academic, someone who has deep knowledge of American evangelicals, and should by no means have the ability to don ideological blinders sufficient to write a hit piece. As a guy who has enjoyed some of Balmer’s previous work and one who is sympathetic to the religious right if not a card-carrying member, I was shocked to find out he’d written a book-length political pamphlet.
This is the sort of project that breaks up friendships. Hard to imagine it was worth it. Either the book contracts for this kind of work are really fat or the levels of what my friend Tom Van Dyke refers to as Bush Derangement Syndrome have risen well past the point of reason and fairness.
If you’ve been reading The Corner, or TKS, or The Note, or Wonkette, or The Plank, you know that the buzz in Washington today has been all about Dana Milbank’s Washington Post column, in which an anonymous GOP Senate candidate laments the drag that Bush’s unpopularity has on his candidacy. It’s pretty obvious that the candidate is Maryland’s Michael Steele (ABC is apparently reporting as much). I called Steele’s campaign to get a confirmation or denial; they haven’t called back.
It strikes me as a silly move by Steele. If he wants to distance himself from Bush, he should say this stuff on the record. If he doesn’t, he should keep his mouth shut. Apparently he was having dinner at Charlie Palmer’s with Milbank and a bunch of other reporters, so if he actually thought that no one would figure out he was the candidate in question he’s amazingly naive. I’m afraid this isn’t the first time my faith in Steele’s strength as a candidate has been shaken.
Jeopardy uber-champ Ken Jennings—er, Mormon Superstar?—dons his Angry hat and inexplicably sinks his teeth into the hand that fed for several weeks in 2004. Apparently $3 million doesn’t buy the kind of respect it used to. Millions of dollars for trivia game show? What a country!
UPDATE: Jennings’ website is back up after traffic crashed it. Here’s the naughty post. And here’s his ornery response to Michael Starr’s rip on him, which talked about feeding hands being bit way before I did here. My failure to be clever was unorginal. Harumph.
David: Since the difference between those two poll results is statistically meaningless, I see no reason to conclude that Casey’s real lead is slipping. As for the ads, they’re disingenuous — especially the immigration ad, which connects Casey to McCain to burnish centrist credentials while suggesting that this puts him to the right of Santorum — but I’m not sure they won’t be effective with voters who aren’t paying close attention. I doubt the Schiavo position hurts him with many people who aren’t already solidly in Santorum’s camp, and standing silent seems like a reasonably smart way of handling the abortion issue (a pro-choice campaign, besides being a complete flip-flop, would fire up Santorum’s support, but running as an unapologetic pro-lifer would depress Democratic turnout). I’m not saying Santorum can’t win, but that’s not the way I’d bet.
A poll from last week shows that Bob Casey’s lead over Rick Santorum was about 11 points, and one from yesterday shows it at about 9. If Casey’s lead is shrinking, perhaps it is because of the ads he is running.
You can listen to this radio ad that criticizes Santorum on immigration but then states that Casey supports the McCain bill. Umm…has anyone told Casey that the McCain bill was unpopular? Then there are the TV ads, which try to paint Casey as favoring fiscal responsibility, but then call for reducing the deficit in a way that only a moron would mistake as anything other than raising taxes. Hasn’t anyone on the Casey campaign heard of the “bridge to nowhere”?
Finally, driving in Philadelphia early yesterday morning I heard a Casey radio ad criticizing Santorum on Terri Schiavo and birth control. (It is not on the Casey website. Wonder why.) Wasn’t Casey supposed to be an example of a Democrat that could appeal to “values voters”? Wasn’t he supposed to be a good candidate because he is pro-life? Speaking of which, can anyone find any mention of abortion on the Casey website? I can’t.
Looks to me like Casey is running pretty much as a liberal Democrat. If this keeps up, expect Santorum to overtake him by October.
Other than maybe the guys at Powerline, this story probably won’t get too much attention, but it should get more.
The skinny? Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch discovered that a political competitor had hired a team to do opposition research on Hatch and his family. Apparently the Star Tribune, a notoriously Democrat-friendly publication, received the opposition research file, or at the least was told the bulk of its contents, and a couple of reporters asked Hatch questions specific to the details revealed in the files.
Hatch refused to answer the questions, and filed a complaint with a state journalism organization. In response, the Star Tribune published an article about the complaint, and made it clear that it knew about the contents of the opposition research file. So without publishing it, it smeared Hatch anyway through hints and innuendo, even though the paper has no corroboration.
We don’t know Hatch, but it’s this kind of backdoor leaking and smear work of the MSM that is giving it a worse name than it already had.
S.T. Karnick is one of the journeyman writers of the conservative-libertarian (or as he would say, classical liberal) movement. His work has appeared just about everywhere, including TAS online. Some of you may remember him from his editorship and co-creation of American Outlook, which was a very good policy and culture magazine put out by the Hudson Institute for several years. He and Wlady gave me my first opportunities in freelance writing a few years ago. (Thanks to both for helping through a couple of lean years in Waco.)
Although Karnick has written about just about everything between his freelance work and his regular editorial pieces for the Hudson magazine, he really shines when opining about popular culture. After years of encouraging him to focus on that area, I am happy to report that Karnick on Culture is now in business. After only a few short days, Karnick has written posts covering Mickey Spillane, Monk, Psych, the Beach Boys, Touching Evil, Nero Wolfe, The Closer, and Superman Returns. Spend a little time with S.T. Karnick before you make another CD, DVD, or fiction purchase. You’ll be glad you did.
David Dickerson is one of numerous fringe candidates that will be crowding the Democratic primary ballot in Maryland’s Senate race (the frontrunner is Ben Cardin, and his chief rival is Kweisi Mfume). Apparently to make sure he really has no danger of being elected, Dickerson has gotten himself arrested for… well, the words “mail order bride from Latvia” are involved. Ugly details here.
Although TV always overplays such situations, the most unusual, indeed saddest thing about this year’s British Open was that the two players who finished one-two were deep in mourning for a parent. For a while it seemed that each had a different take on his loss. DiMarco seemed the more religious, noting earlier in the tournament, “I’ve got someone watching over me. I’ve got some divine intervention. I just know it.” Woods by contrast was more inconsolable. “After the last putt, I realized my dad’s never going to see this again, and I wish he could have seen this one last time,” he said at the trophy presentation. By tournament’s end, DiMarco himself was hit by death’s finality. “That’s the hardest part — that I know I’ll never see her again,” he said. Even among the world’s finest, the here and now is all we know.
New York Times columnist Frank Rich personifies the political left’s inability to do if-then logic, a fact on exhibit again Sunday in a column ostensibly on the controversy over embryonic stem cell research but really just another exercise in random Bush-bashing. Rich cites the notorious Presidential Daily Briefing from August 6, 2001, a month before 9/11, titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
“History,” Rich writes, “has since condemned President Bush for ignoring that intelligence.”
Now let me see if I’ve got this straight. Rich is arguing that Bush, armed with sketchy intelligence that Osama bin Laden intended to attack America, should have neutralized the threat. All right, but how? Should Bush have launched a pre-emptive, unilateral invasion of Afghanistan, where bin Laden was holed up?
As we say in the ‘hood, I’m down with that.
But of course Rich has spent the last three years condemning the President for launching a pre-emptive, unilateral invasion to neutralize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein in Iraq — based not on a single memorandum on Saddam’s intentions but rather based on the consensus of CIA, FBI, Mossad, United Nations and British intelligence, based on a personal warning from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Saddam was planning to sponsor a terrorist attack on American interests, based on a sealed 1998 indictment of bin Laden by the Clinton Justice Department which reads in part “Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq” … and, oh, by the way, based on the fact that Saddam was already sheltering known al Qaeda terrorists like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
To sum up: According to Rich, Bush is a chump for not acting on sketchy intelligence to take out Osama. But according to Rich, Bush is also a chump for acting on much-less-sketchy intelligence to take out Saddam.
Where’s the consistency?
Quin, ever hear the story of how that “famous bizzarre putting grip” of Chris DiMarco’s came about? Bill Fields of Golf World told the story a few years back.
Golfer Skip Kendall belongs to a club near his home town in Wisconsin. For years, the club champion was a doctor who dominated the rest of the field. Then, as the doctor got older, his putting stroke deserted him. He schemed and worked and fiddled and finally came up with the putting grip now called “the saw” or “the claw.” And the doctor started winning the club championships once again.
A number of members copied him. Apparently, now, some 30 of the members use that grip. On a trip home, Kendall saw it. Some time later, he passed it on to DiMarco, who was having putting woes. And DiMarco unwittingly introduced it to the wider world.
I use it myself.
About two weeks ago, The Anniston Star ran an editorial looking at health in Alabama. Here is a quote:
We decided to look at a couple of broad health indicators, namely life expectancy and infant mortality rates. These data are influenced by a wide range of problems from chronic illness and poor nutrition to substance abuse and lack of adequate health care.
It is common for the media to link a health care system to life expectancy and infant mortality. Problem is, neither tells us much about a health care system. A lengthy explanation in my first policy analysis for NCPPR.
Congratulations to Tiger Woods for his near-flawless performance in winning the British Open (a decent putting day on Saturday would have given him a wipe-out victory by six or seven shots), to Floyd Landis for his incredibly inspirational victory in the Tour de France (years riding as sidekick to give Lance Armstrong all the glory; one last chance this year before hip replacement surgery [!!!]; the very painful hip itself all the way through this Tour; the phenomenal comeback in the Alps after a falling all the way to 11th place), and to golfer Chris DiMarco for his second-place finish to Tiger just three weeks after DiMarco’s mother’s unexpected death. Again, as Tiger kept hitting good shot after good shot, all the glamour names on the leader board — Els, Garcia, Goosen, Furyk — failed to put any pressure, even the slightest bit, on him the last day. But DiMarco, with a slightly jury-rigged swing, a famously bizarre putting grip, and a much lesser golf pedigree, again showed the grit, determination, and never-say-die attitude to at least make Tiger sweat. The final-round 68 by DiMarco was a fine, fine piece of work, making him the only player in the field who was merely defeated by Tiger rather than losing to him. It’s an important distinction: He who plays splendidly but is defeated by a superior (in this case, almost otherworldly) performance has everything to be proud of; he who loses without mounting a challenge has only, well, lost. DiMarco is a battler, and deserves great respect.
To use a phrase from Archie Bunker, why won’t Speaker Dennis Hastert just stifle himself?!?!? There he was again, yesterday on Fox News Sunday, moaning about the FBI search of Rep. William Jefferson’s office. Every time he opens his mouth on the subject, he takes away a Republican advantage — and he’s also wrong, dead wrong, on the substance of the issue as well. Hastert said he might challenge a judge’s order that allows a “filter team,” which is separate from the actual prosecution team, to review records to determine if they were responsive to the items listed in a court warrant authorizing the search. Hastert apparently wants all records seized from Jefferson’s office to STILL be off limits not only to prosecutors but even to this filter team whose entire point is to make sure the records used by the prosecution are not ones protected by constitutional provisions. His objections are inane.
Hastert must have thought he was being clever, by blasting Jefferson in the process, to try to make a distinction between supporting/defending Jefferson and supporting/defending House prerogatives. It remains a distinction that will be lost on most of the general public, who will merely see a political big shot trying to protect other apparently corrupt politicians, and who will therefore blame the incumbent party, the GOP, for all the corruption.
This is a fight that both on politics and substance is not worth fighting, and it again shows that Hastert has become utterly divorced from the public he purports to serve.
Jed, I appreciate the exchange. I am going to pick one final nit, a nit I picked in the original column. You believe that building a democratic government in Iraq necessarily distracts and delays us from the necessary business of conquering the wider enemy. I do not think that needs to be so, think, in fact, that Iraq, newly constituted, may be an effective ally and forward base in that war. The Iraqis hate “the guys in black turbans” (i.e., the mullahs, the Taliban, etc.) as much as we do. And, given the map of the middle east, I believe Iraq, right in the middle of the muddle, presents a special case for nation-building, one that could not be made for, say, Syria, and that we should not need to make for Iran, once the mullahs are deposed. Question here: Can the mullahs be deposed without outright war? For example, via naval blockade?
In an earlier post, James Poulos decries the lack of priority given to the humanities versus the sciences. I am a Ph.D. candidate in the humanities and have every interest in seeing that area of inquiry become the focus of dollars and attention. Nevertheless, I can’t bring myself to hope that more students will be steered in that direction. Although I am a faithful disciple of the humanities, I often take comfort in the fact that the majority of students won’t have much exposure to the offerings on hand. Better they remain busy with their business and engineering degrees than that they should hear too much of the soul-killing discourses that reign in the older buildings on campus.
Now, I acknowledge that the situation could be improved. I presented a paper at a conference at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta put on by people like Joseph Knippenberg and Peter Augustine Lawler. Dr. Knippenberg asked me to dinner where I met several faculty members from around the state who were a bit (SSSSSHHHHH) conservative and maybe even (quietly now) Christian. All in all, it was delightful time and I would have been pleased to trust my children’s higher education into the hands of such people without a second thought.
At this point, at least, I’m not persuaded that the type of folks I met in Atlanta are adequately represented on faculties around the country. And if not, then I’m not sure we should want to see more young minds filled with the deliverances of the discipline, love it though I do.
Larry: Thanks for the rejoinder. I know you don’t intentionally counsel defeat, but that is the necessary result of the strategy you propound. The fact is now, was in 2003, and always will be that by delaying action against other terrorist regimes while we wait for the Iraqis to sort themselves out is a strategy that leads inevitably to our defeat. While Maliki and the rest fiddle, Ahmadinejad develops nukes, Syria keeps the Sunni insurgency alive in Iraq and Saudi Arabia plays both ends against each other. I’m not against helping nations achieve democracy, but I’m inalterably opposed to elevating democracy to the status of weapon or strategy. As Iran, Syria, and the rest are proving day after day, they are using our delay to their great advantage. Democracy was impossible in Germany until Hitler was dead and his regime ground into dust. Democracy in the arab world must wait until victory has been achieved. Iran? Syria? As WSC would have said, “Action This Day.”
Jed, thanks for your good and thoughtful reply. I’ll take issue with two things: I do not counsel or countenance defeat. Victory means as much to me as to any Amerian. Second, Middle Eastern countries, at least some of them, represent a great deal more than Brit exercises in map-drawing. The Bible mentions several countries that still exist, among them, Iran.