Here in North Carolina, the only congressional race considered to be competitive this fall is in our 11th District, which pits incumbent Republican Rep. Charles Taylor against former Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler. Shuler has raised a lot of money, and Democrats are counting on this contest to help them retake the House. Charlie Cook rates it a “toss-up.” Taylor is a pretty quiet guy and usually gets going late in his campaigns, but he has plenty of money of his own he can throw into the race.
Hey, Jed, pass the box of Kleenex, if there’s anything left of it by the time your sobs are stanched. An apology to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson? You mean Mr. Wilson and Madame Plame? An apology for “blowing her cover” — by which you mean blowing her like a curbside leaf through the covers of Vanity Fair — in which Agent Plame’s fashion kitsch managed the unintentional laugh riot of resurrecting Madeline Stowe’s blonde-on-the-lam-and-in-sunglasses getup in 12 Monkeys — a film ten times more serious than The Dreadful Leak ever managed to be? Or maybe the apology intented is for Joe Wilson’s blow-dried monstrosity — an act of desperate “virile” hubris that only foreigners like Koizumi and de Villepin can pull off — sorry, Sen. “Other Joe” Biden…
No, Richard Armitage’s apology is meant to be blanket enough to cover everyone but those who were actually damaged by his Offhand Remark, and the cloying treacle of his cufflinked, knit-browed, and obsequiously tardy martyrdom operation is designed to satisfy the final sexual urge of American politics — guilt, confession, emoting on a Clintonian scale, an elegantly public act of “coping” that suggests “no closure” and tugs at the hem of empathy with all the bathos of the world’s most expertly self-effacing beggar. “He’s so sorry I feel bad for him” — that’s the ticket, boys and girls, contrition as absolution, the staged self-abuse of the ego; eventually this spectacle rises to the level of embarrassment, and the thought that our public officials are actually stooping this low on the scale of psychological propriety finally unleashes a tide of wilful ignorance. Get them off the TV (the whole point in the first place) — people are dying on planet Earth!
And so they are. Welcome back to the real world, ladies and germs, a land where, apology accepted, neither Plames nor Wilsons have place nor purpose.
Sorry to those who tried to get through to our site this afternoon but couldn’t — our host experienced a major router breakdown that took much longer to repair than he expected. But all operations are now go again, and no, we can’t say were knocked off the air by the same malign forces that are teaching ABC television a thing or two or ten about free speech in the post-Clinton era.
MoveOn just sent its members an email saying that it was seeking 200,000 signatures for a petition to get the ABC miniseries “The Path to 9/11” pulled from the air.
And in case you didn’t realize it, the film is part of an election year conspiracy:
The Path to 9/11 appears to be part of a coordinated push — including speeches by President Bush and millions of dollars in advertising — to exploit the five-year anniversary of 9/11 for political gain. That’s not acceptable from anyone — especially not a news organization like ABC.
Bush-Cheney-Rove-Halliburton-ABC. I don’t know how I’d make it through this world if MoveOn wasn’t there to enlighten me.
So former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage — admitting it was he who first “leaked” Valerie Plame’s CIA employ to Bob Novak — says, “Oh, I feel terrible. Every day, I think I let down the president, I let down the Secretary of State. I let down my department, my family and I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson.” It’s eight years almost to the day since I heard this sincere an apology. On 5 September 1998, Bill Clinton apologized for his “relationship” with Monica.
What both Clinton and now Armitage are sorry for is being found out, not for what they did. If Armitage had a shred of decency left, he’d be apologizing to Scooter Libby. Come to think of it, both Colin Powell and Armitage owe Libby the same apology. And the president, at this sorry point, owes Libby a pardon. Now, please. It’s time to send Patrick Fitzgerald-Javert back to Chicago.
So argues North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt.
Over at Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi first calls Democrats attacks on Rumsfeld, “one of those groan-out-loud coordinated media-sandbag jobs, now standard procedure in American politics, where the various politicians separately make exactly the same pre-prepared ‘jokes’ in their respective ‘extemporaneous’ public remarks, delivering their message with all the wit and spontaneity of a Speak N’ Spell,” and then turns his vitriolic cannon on Joe Biden for a lengthy volley, which begins thusly:
I can take this stuff coming from most of the Democrats, but it’s awfully hard to listen to this crap from Joe Biden. Actually, listening to Joe Biden sound self-righteous about anything makes me want to puke my guts out. I don’t know what it is about him. Maybe it’s that creepy poof of blowdried gray pubic fuzz he has now covering up that dime-store plug job on his head. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s been ponderously wondering aloud about his chances for the White House for eighteen straight years, his painfully obvious hard-on for power straining against his suit-slacks, ever since a plagiarism scandal and an aneurysm knocked him out of his first run. Maybe it’s that his idea of outflanking the Republican Party is outspending them on the War on Drugs.
Or maybe it’s just that Biden, more than almost anyone in American public life, will do or say anything that he thinks will secure him even the most temporary electoral advantage.
Oh Lord, that’s tough stuff. I though Biden won the hip kids over with his frequent cussing and rooster strut? No? Didn’t work for Kerry, either.
In today’s NY Times column (subscription required) Paul Krugman writes:
We are, finally, having a national discussion about inequality, and right-wing commentators are in full panic mode. Statistics, most of them irrelevant or misleading, are flying; straw men are under furious attack. It’s all very confusing — deliberately so. So let me offer a few clarifying comments.
The trouble is, at no point in the article does he quote specific “panicking” conservatives. Instead, he makes statements such as,”Conservative commentators tell us about wage gains for one-eyed bearded men with 2.5 years of college, or whatever - and conveniently forget to adjust for inflation.” But isn’t that just — dare I say it — a strawman? Meanwhile, consider this bit of economic news from today’s business section of Krugman’s own employer:
The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped more sharply than expected last week, signaling continuing labor market strength despite a general economic slowdown.
Perhaps it’s Krugman himself who is in “panic mode.”
When even your damage control is out of control, you’re in the catbird seat for the slow-motion crash that is the American automotive industry. Waiting desperately for a click of my mouse — aside a CBS web report indicating that Richard Armitage “feels terrible” “every day” about having “let down the President” and “Mr. and Mrs. Wilson” (!) — is a Ford advertisement, one which you may have seen lately, too. The headline? BOLD MOVES. The text? “A video documentary series that takes you INSIDE FORD as it attempts one of the largest corporate turnarounds in history.”
The drama! The passion! The — wait, attempts the turnaround? Video documentary? A click on this link takes you to a full-blown publicity campaign — sorry, internet documentary — “documenting the future of Ford.” (I knew it wasn’t a documentary.) It’s replete with exhortations to “tell a friend,” “blog it,” (!!) and “engage, debate, and get involved in what’s happening at Ford right now.”
Well, foax, here’s my officially-encouraged e-debate involvement: Ford’s spin is not only transparent but useless to the point of harm and probably also achingly expensive. The whole approach will never, ever persuade me to buy a Ford that I otherwise wouldn’t buy. The Mustang sells itself, guys. Ponder that one. Please. As for this “bold” campaign? Two words: blog fodder.
Leave aside the question of whether his characterization of the contemporary GOP is accurate; consider instead the profound ignorance of American history betrayed by the comment that this would be “the first time” that “one of the major parties is, at its core, a religious organization.” The Know-Nothings campaigned entirely on Protestant chauvanism. The Free Soilers — and then the Republicans — were organized around an abolitionist movement overwhelmingly driven by religious conviction. The Bryanists who controlled the Democratic Party from 1896-1908 explicitly grounded their populist ideology in faith. Those are just the most obvious examples. Can Andrew really know none of this?
The Democrats are the Party fighting for free speech and against the abuse of power!
From a Senate Democrats’ letter to ABC about the airing of the Path To 9/11:
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.
And if that don’t work, a swim in the Hudson wearing cement shoes ought to do it!
I missed this earlier in the week (it’s been a busy one of supplementary jurisdiction, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and mens rea), but Judge Harvey Wilkinson had an eloquent op-ed in the Post Tuesday arguing against the Federal Marriage Amendment from the perspective of judicial restraint.
I have struggled to see the necessity of the FMA, and Wilkinson cinched it for me. FMA would do what conservatives have decried for years: constitutionalize what is rightly the province of state law.
“There are some people, and I’m one of them, that believe George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord,” Tomanio said. “I don’t care how he governs, I will support him. I’m a Republican through and through.”
On the basis of this, Sullivan feels comfortable concluding, “For the first time, one of the major parties is, at its core, a religious organization.”
The verbosity of the Kean-Hamilton “Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission” is forecast in its title: “Without Precedent.” Couldn’t they have said “Unprecedented” and hewn to similar economy in the remainder of the writing?
The LA Times reports:
After much discussion, ABC executives and the producers toned down, but did not eliminate entirely, a scene that involved
Phil: But the risk is still there, despite the reason for being a police officer, etc. And the effect is the still the same for the family of the fallen.
And, extending your logic again, Dale Earnhardt was also irresponsible, not to mention every race car driver with a family.
Finally, where would Michael Kelly fall into this? Was he seeking glory or trying to do a public service by reporting on Iraq?
Making having a family contingent on the amount of risk in one’s job is probably going to take you down roads you don’t want to go.
David, you write, “While your concern is understandable, if we were to follow your logic to its conclusion, it would mean that no one who is a police officer, fire fighter, or soldier could have a family either.”
I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. Soldiers, police officers and fire fighters risk their lives to save and protect people — that’s a lot different than seeking glory on television.
One of the most controversial scenes in the ABC minseries involves Sandy Berger. The
The drama leads viewers to believe that National Security Advisor Sandy Berger told the CIA that he would not authorize them to take a shot at bin Laden. This is complete fiction and the event portrayed never happened. First of all, the 9/11 Commission Report makes clear that CIA Director George Tenet had been directed by President Clinton and Mr. Berger to get bin Laden (p. 199 & 508-509). Secondly, Roger Cressy, National Security Council senior director for counterterrorism from 1999-2001, has said, on more than one occasion, “Mr. Clinton approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda.”
The truth is a little more complicated. For dramatic purposes the movie sets up a scenario in which CIA operatives backed up by the
Much of the debate that was crammed into once sequence in the film, actually played out over the course of several months while there were many rehearsals for the Tarnak Farms raid. It's debatable who ultimately rejected the plan, but Berger was clearly hesitant.
The 9/11 report reads:
Washington, Berger expressed doubt about the dependability of the tribals. In his meeting with Tenet, Berger focused most, however, on the question of what was to be done with Bin Ladin if he were actually captured. He worried that the hard evidence against Bin Ladin was still skimpy and that there was a danger of snatching him and bringing him to the United States only to see him acquitted.
Ultimately, the plan was called off on
Impressions vary as to who actually decided not to proceed with the operation. Clarke told us that the CSG saw the plan as flawed. He was said to have described it to a colleague on the NSC staff as "half-assed" and predicted that the principals would not approve it. "Jeff " thought the decision had been made at the cabinet level. Pavitt thought that it was Berger's doing, though perhaps on Tenet's advice. Tenet told us that given the recommendation of his chief operations officers, he alone had decided to "turn off" the operation. He had simply informed Berger, who had not pushed back. Berger's recollection was similar. He said the plan was never presented to the White House for a decision.
So, the CIA's James Pavitt testified that Berger called it off. Both Tenet and Berger say that Tenet rejected it.
Even if you pin the decision on Tenet, that doesn't change the fact that Berger did not object. And while the
…Sidney Blumenthal, Newsweek, and Joe Conason have in common? They all owe Karl Rove an apology, according to David Broder.
An apology from that lot? I know I’m going to hold my breath.
Phil: Saw your blog post yesterday, and I have to disagree. While your concern is understandable, if we were to follow your logic to its conclusion, it would mean that no one who is a police officer, fire fighter, or soldier could have a family either.
On a different note, I got back late from vacation Tuesday evening, and turned on the TV which one of my roommates must have left on CNN. I caught the end of a segment of Larry King Live before it went to commercial. All I saw was a picture of Steve Irwin and heard some somber music. I knew immediately. God bless Steve Irwin, and may He look over his wife and children
Steve Irwin was a pioneer. He transformed the wildlife show, turning the genre into something that was both educational and fun. He showed that you could be goofy and still take wildlife seriously. Without Irwin, someone like Jeff Corwin would probably wouldn’t be on television.
At times like this I find God’s mysterious ways difficult to accept. Why didn’t He let someone like Irwin entertain us for another 30 to 40 years? My only guess is that as Irwin aged, he would not be able to satisfy all the physical demands of his job, something that he would have found to be frustrating to the point of unbearable. Given all the wonderful things Irwin had done with his life, perhaps God decided to spare him that suffering.
Wlady: I particularly liked the phrase “reformed right-wing reporter,” as though being a right-winger is tantamount to being a criminal or drug addict.
The economy still not cooperating with the experts.
The letter written on behalf of Bill Clinton contains the statement:
We challenge anyone to read the 9/11 Commission Report and find any basis for the false allegations noted above or the tenor of the drama, which suggests that the Clinton Administration was inattentive to the threat of a terrorist strike.
Anyone up for the challenge?
TPM has obtained a copy of the letter that Bill Clinton’s lawyer, Bruce Lindsay, wrote to ABC chief Bob Iger , protesting “The Path to 9/11.” Full text available here.
Fans of David Brock, Hillary-Vince, and gushing liberal media won’t want to miss this latest bouquet tossed out by the suburbanites at Newsday.
In today’s WSJ, Newt Gringrich argues that Bush, like Lincoln before him, must adapt to the reality of how difficult the current conflict is. While he gives Bush credit for understanding the magnitude of the threat we face, he says his strategies fail because:
(1) They do not define the scale of the emerging World War III, between the West and the forces of militant Islam, and so they do not outline how difficult the challenge is and how big the effort will have to be. (2) They do not define victory in this larger war as our goal, and so the energy, resources and intensity needed to win cannot be mobilized. (3) They do not establish clear metrics of achievement and then replace leaders, bureaucrats and bureaucracies as needed to achieve those goals.
Hmm…I wonder if Newt believes that somebody else might be able to do a better job.
Howard Kurtz writes in today's Washington Post that former Clinton Administration officials have launched a preemptive attack against the ABC mini-series "Path to 9/11." Having watched the first three hours last night, I can see why. The film, a docudrama based on the 9/11 Commission Report and The Cell, is a strong indictment of the Clinton Administration. It portrays President Clinton as distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal and dramatizes several missed opportunities to capture or kill bin Laden. In one scene, then-National Security Adviser
I've never been one to get my history from TV movies, and I'm not going to start now — that would make me no better than liberals who get their history from Michael Moore. However, if any good can come of this, it could generate an honest debate on the national security failures of the 1990s. President Bush has taken most of the blame in the media for not acting on pre-9/11 intelligence, but the Clinton Administration has largely gotten a free pass. That is absurd considering that Clinton was president for eight years as terrorist attacks against the United States increased in frequency and boldness (his presidency is nearly book-ended by the first World Trade Center bombing and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole).
The reason this is an important debate to have is not to attack Clinton (Republicans were not vocally pushing for more aggressive action during the 1990s, and President Bush didn't run in 2000 on a platform of getting tougher on terrorists). Americans, as a whole, underestimated the dangers of terrorism.
But as we approach the fifth anniversary of 9/11 without a major attack on
“— President Bush today acknowledged that U.S. authorities have held suspected terrorists in secret CIA prisons around the world and said information obtained from them ‘has saved innocent lives.’”
Now, why would he go and admit that, and exactly which communications guru advised that this was a good idea? There obviously has to be a good reason behind an admission like this (because all of us surely didn’t believe that the CIA actually had secret prisons). Perhaps the NYT is preparing to blow yet another undercover op, as the adminstration certainly doesn’t need to give “Speaker” Pelosi any more ammo.
Kevin Drum attempts to lay out what most Democrats agree on when it comes to the War on Terror. That is, if you exclude "the Chomsky wing on the left and the Lieberman wing on the right." Among the many aspects of his Democratic national security plan is this:
On the overseas front, we largely agree that, in the long term, we can only eliminate militant jihadism if we eliminate support for jihadists among the vast majority of Muslims in the
Middle East. This requires genuine support for democracy, serious economic and trade programs aimed at the Middle East, and a public diplomacy program vastly superior to the laughable efforts currently underway. We support a far more active role for the United States in negotiating a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. We support a hardnosed dedication to diplomacy and negotiation, Richard Holbrooke style. We recognize that the moral high ground isn't just a nice thing to have, it's crucial to winning support for our policies — and that means a renewed dedication to taking seriously international institutions such as arms control regimes and the United Nations. Military action, when absolutely necessary, should be as sharp and pointed as possible, oriented toward counterinsurgency, not invasion and regime change.
In a nutshell, Drum says Democrats want to return to a Clinton-era forign policy. Somehow, a dependence on "arms control regimes and the United Nations," and even an agreement negotiated by Jimmy Carter, failed to stop the North Koreans from acquiring nuclear weapons. Should we try the same approach with Iran? Madeline Albright and Bill Clinton dedicated over a year of concentrated diplomacy to reaching a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the Israelis offered Arafat the best deal conceivable. All it accomplished was to prove that — Surprise! — the Palestinians don't want peace. How a U.S.-led peace effort would have any better chance of succeeding now, with the Palestinian Authority led by Hamas, is beyond comprehension.
I just recieved the following press release from the Massachusetts Governor’s office:
Governor Mitt Romney today ordered all Massachusetts state government agencies to decline support, if asked, for former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami’s September 10 visit to the Boston area, where he is scheduled to speak at Harvard University.
“State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel,” said Romney.
Romney’s action means that Khatami will be denied an official police escort and other VIP treatment when he is in town. The federal government provides security through the U.S. State Department. Romney criticized Harvard for honoring Khatami by inviting him to speak, calling it “a disgrace to the memory of all Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists, especially on the eve of the five-year anniversary of 9/11.”
Said Romney: “The U.S. State Department listed Khatami’s Iran as the number one state sponsor of terrorism. Within his own country, Khatami oversaw the torture and murder of dissidents who spoke out for freedom and democracy. For him to lecture Americans about tolerance and violence is propaganda, pure and simple.”
“Khatami pretends to be a moderate, but he is not. My hope is that the United States will find and work with real voices of moderation inside Iran. But we will never make progress in the region if we deal with wolves in sheep’s clothing,” said Romney.
In the midst of arguing that the Iranian threat is being overblown, Fareed Zakaria mentions historical examples of past threats that he says were also overblown. He writes:
Saddam, we were assured in 2003, had nuclear weapons-and because he was a madman, he would use them.
It’s one thing to say that we were told that Saddam had WMD, but nobody was assuring us in 2003 that Saddam had nuclear weapons. The farthest the Bush Administration went was to say that Saddam was seeking them. That’s a crucial difference, and I’m surprised that Zakaria would be so careless.
I love and respect my father—it’s hard not to respect someone with that much firepower and a solid post-apocalypse plan—but I wish he had wrestled aligators and snakes and swam with 200 pound stingrays. In fact, if he called me up tomorrow and said that was his plan for his (not quite here) retirement years I would put a camcorder and defibrillator on my credit card, pack my bag, butter some popcorn and get ready for the show. I’d also encourage him to blow whatever meager inheritance my sisters and I might have waiting in the wings on the project because there is no way whatever we’d blow the money on could compare to watching my father try to cop an Australian accent shouting “Crikey!” while wrestling an aligator. Nothing.
Shawn, I think Irwin proved himself fearless and special before he had children. So, had he quit a few years ago, his children could have grown up proud of what their father acomplished when he was younger, but they still would have been able to grow up with a father. When they got older, they would realize that their father sacrificed something he loved, but it was only because his love for them was even greater.
Here’s how to save GM and every other struggling behemoth from
the nightmare of unbearable entitlements, courtesy of public genius
Malcolm Gladwell: pool the social welfare
obligations of all the world’s corporations!
Wait…that’s a horrible idea. Sorry.
Phillip: Your response reminds me, actually, of a passage from All the King’s Men: “The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can’t know. He can’t know whether knowledge will save him or kill him.”
At the heart of it all, Irwin sought knowledge and shed light on some dangerous wonders for people across the globe. His wife was there for much of it, so she clearly consented. And while his death is sad and tragic for his children, they will grow up with evidence of a father who balked at nothing and went where few if any other men were willing to go. To my mind that sort of one of a kind fearlessness is a much better example than a father who gave up what he loved because the world is a dangerous place.
Irwin didn’t die in some traffic accident or of a heart attack. It isn’t as if he didn’t provide extensivley for his family. He went out wrestling aligators, snakes and, finally, swimming in shallow water with a 220 pound stingray that got in a lucky shot. The entire world mourned his death because they knew he was special. May one percent of us end with such glory!
RE: John’s “When Brits Try to Understand American Politics.”
Actually, Ezra Klein, writing for the LA Times a few weeks ago, made the case for Hillary replacing Harry Reid instead of running for president.
Obviously, it’s a tragedy when anybody dies, but in my view Irwin was being very selfish and irresponsible as a husband and father by doing what he was doing. It’s one thing to play around with deadly animals when you’re a young, single, guy, but if you love doing something dangerous, you simply should not have a family. That’s just a sacrifice you’re going to have to make, because it’s not fair to make your wife a widow and your children fatherless. If having a family means a lot to you, then give up hunting Crocodiles.
Is there anything he can’t draw a foreign policy lesson from? Apparently not.
There’s very sad news today from Australia. Steve Irwin - who the world knew as “The Crocodile Hunter” — was killed by a stingray while filming a special in the waters off an Australian island. Irwin was enormously entertaining, informative and one of the great showmen of the age. His typical shows — with crocs, snakes and other truly dangerous critters — often showed how dangerous his work was. But Irwin was a man’s man, shrugging off injuries and making sure the show went on despite whatever wounds the creatures inflicted on him. This time, bad luck proved fatal. The stingray’s barb apparently hit him directly in the heart. Thanks, Steve. You were one of the greats. Crikey, we’ll miss you.
Does anyone think for a second that Hillary Clinton would decide that succeeding Harry Reid is a more attractive prospect than running for President? There’s a reason this story isn’t appearing in an American paper.
Quin, I made my suggestion about making Allen Doyle to the Ryder Cup team in all seriousness. If, as Johnny Miller said (and I agree), Doyle is the best player in the world from 100 yards in, he would be a fine competitor. As for your assertion that “no way is he even among the best 150 golfers in the world,” you contradict yourself by noting that Doyle “hung around the cut line” at the U.S. Open. That would seem to prove he is about #75.
And in any case, ranking in stroke play events does not absolutely indicate effectiveness in match play, nor especially in team match play.
Most important, in team match play, sheer grit and guts count, and Doyle has proven that in spades.
How many show-pony-studded American Ryder Cup teams have you seen that just stunk up the place? A fair number.
Okay, just because I can, and just because I’ve got a blog, off the top of my head, I’ll pick my own Ryder Cup team, and I bet I’d have an even chance of beating the official squad — on sheer desire and gratitude.
Joe Durant, Tim Herron, Jerry Kelly, Allen Doyle, Loren Roberts, Len Mattiace, Woody Austin, Olin Browne, Billy Andrade, Briny Baird, James Driscoll, Frank Lickliter.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online