The Spectacle Blog

Enemy of the State Returns

By on 4.22.06 | 9:17AM

Having apparently recovered from the national backlash he suffered after comparing Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to a Nazi death camp (and the intellectual thrashings he suffered at the hands of John Roberts and Samuel Alito) Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois wants to return to center stage. The strong rumor is that he will introduce a "no confidence" resolution aimed at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as soon as the Senate returns next week. (It has apparently escaped Durbin that we don't have a parliamentary system of government in which such resolutions have the effect - if passed - of removing the target from government.)

This comes as a bit of a shock to other Dems eager for the publicity it can generate for Durbin. Schumer -- Little Miss Gun Control -- will be simply seething. And it's going to be very interesting to see how many Dems jump to support it other than Russ "Censure" Feingold. Will Rumsfeld's cloaked Republican adversary - the one whose staffer attacks via anonymous quotes in the NYT - be revealed?

Too bad these guys spend all their time attacking Rumsfeld with nary a harsh word directed at people like Zarqawi.

Snow Job

By on 4.21.06 | 6:24PM

Prowler -- I still don't quite get why everybody seems so down on John Snow. Frankly, on substance he seems to have done a very solid job. And he's never off message, and he works his tail off. He's done everything they've asked of him. His only drawback (and this may be a big enough drawback to be important) is that he's not an exciting communicator. But the man deserves better than a death by a thousand leaks.

All that said, my idea for the best replacement for him, if he is to be replaced, is the same guy I've touted for about five other important jobs in DC: Chris Cox. Yeah, he's only been at the SEC for eight months, but then again Rob Portman hadn't been Trade Rep very long either. Cox has done a great job at SEC and he has all the right skill sets to make him a first class SecTreas. And while Phil Gramm is smart as hell, Gramm has the ability to scare people or turn them off; Cox will never do that. If PR is the problem, Cox is a better answer than Gramm. For one thing, I guarantee you COx will NEVER wax eloquent about "Dicky Flatt"!!!!

Gramm

By on 4.21.06 | 6:13PM

There are rumors floating about DC today that former Sen. Phil Gramm is about to be named Treasury Secretary to replace Secretary John Snow.

There were rumors earlier this week that Gramm was being offered a job as "senior counselor" to the President to oversee Congressional relations, among other things.

Gramm's name have been floated a number of times over the past 18 months and nothing much has come of it. There are several other people who would love to put their hats in the ring for the Treasury job: Robert Kimmett and Tim Adams, both Snow deputy secretaries, have made it clear they would like the job. And White House chief of staff, Joshua Bolten spent five years with Goldman Sachs before moving to Austin in 1999, so he knows the senior Wall Street types that might be enamoured of the job.

Another Good Shake-up

By on 4.21.06 | 4:54PM

When is something broken in Iraq cause for optimism? When it's that government logjam. Jaafari's replacement strikes all parties, according to statement, as acceptable. Now a whole new thicket of practical questions: why him -- Jawad al-Maliki? Why now? Wasn't the deadlock about more than one fellow? But you can also ask some bigger questions, in light of our own administration's personnel issues. Like: what can a people do when held hostage by ossified staffing structures and the personalities they tolerate? A question for the ages; some reflections here.

Good Shake-up

By on 4.21.06 | 2:13PM

In opposition to those who say the White House staff changes are merely cosmetic, I have good reason to believe the shake-up there will turn out to be quite significant. New Chief of Staff Josh Bolten really does seem to "get it" when it comes to understanding that this White House needs a more creative, more energetic, more politically astute (less politically tone-deaf) attitude and atmosphere. I really do sense a political comeback in the making, based both on better style AND better substance.

Dhimmitude at the Gym?

By on 4.21.06 | 1:51PM

Some Muslim women have signed a petition asking the Fitness USA chain to provide separate exercise days for men and women, or put up a divider so they cannot see one another. "In Islam, there are codes of modesty for both genders," one of them says, in a small but illustrative example of the Islamist effort to conform public spaces to their standards. The women claim that they were promised separate exercise days, which the gym chain denies. Anyone want to take bets that Fitness USA will cave, or at least meet them halfway?

Today on Kudlow & Co.

By on 4.21.06 | 8:54AM

I'll be on with Larry Kudlow today talking about Iran and the need for a military draft in order to invade Iran. That's not my idea, mind you. My opponent in the debate thinks it's a fine and dandy idea. Hope you can catch it.

Falun Dafa speaks the facts

By on 4.21.06 | 1:27AM

Spoke with Falun Dafa sources this evening re Hu protest at White House.

Dr. Wang Wanyi, a medical physician, a graduate of American University, an accredited journalist with Epoch Times, a New York area resident, an American citizen, is charged by the Federals with disorderly conduct and with intimidating and disturbing a foreign official, for her bold, accurate Mandarin statement during the joint press conference at the White House by Bush and Hu, that Hu is a criminal and an evil person.

Dr. Wang is speaking to the facts of the abuse and murder of Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) prectitioners in the PRC , and to the fact of the organ harvesting by Chinese authorities. A fresh human heart cost $170,000. A fresh human eye cost $30,000.

Re: Undeserved Unpopularity

By on 4.20.06 | 7:39PM

Larry: Truth be told, it's more than just not spreading the message well. That's the libDem excuse. You gotta walk the walk as well as talk the talk. We can forgive his malapropisms, his unease with the press and his lack of imagination in speeches. I could forgive all that and leap to help fix the broken wheels on the bandwagon if only he'd do some of the stuff we need that should be terribly easy, especially for a second-termer.

Maybe that's the problem: Bush does reasonably well on the hard stuff and completely blows it on the easy ones. It's like he doesn't want to be bothered. Josh Bolton should talk him into picking some of the low-hanging fruit on the political tree. We'd all be better off.

And then he can get on to the tougher ones. I'm paying well over $3 a gallon for super premium to feed the Mustang. How long can the economy keep heading up while we're sending the Saudis, et al., every dollar we can stuff into a gas pump? And just how many nukes will ol' Mahmoud have in a year or less?

Re: Undeserved Unpopularity

By on 4.20.06 | 7:26PM

In my column of January 11, I quoted David Gregory of NBC asking President Bush why he thought his poll numbers were so low. And then wrote:

Let's imagine that President Bush could have answered that question the way it deserved.

"Oh, I don't know, Stretch. I suppose when the greatest image- and opinion-making machine the world has ever seen devotes five years to making me look bad, it might have some effect."

Contrast that treatment to the ongoing media love affair with Bill Clinton, and you have a 30 point difference.

Back in the Clinton wars, I used to think regularly, "Any time now, the whole American people will know that the media just lies." Well, more of them know that than used to. But a lot of them still don't.

And Jed, as you've said so well, Bush makes his case very badly -- and very seldom.

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