The Spectacle Blog

Schiavo Sharon

By on 1.8.06 | 2:06PM

Ariel Sharon's grave condition has become a political event that can be and will be manipulated by the succession crisis in Jerusalem and the Sharon family troubles.

When and if the life support systems are turned off, Sharon will fail quickly if not immediately. Therefore all preparation of the state funeral now turns on that moment: security, transportation, accommodation. The funeral will be the gathering of the clans that defines the last of the 20th century order of battle: the ancien regime marching behind Sharon the way it marched behind King Edward's hearse in 1910 in London.

More, the funeral will be a sharp break with Sharonism, and this does not favor the unremarkable Ehud Olmert. There is motive for Olmert and the quarreling players of the unborn Forward Party (including the decaying Peres), to delay the funeral as long as possible in the 100 day run-up to the election in order to feed on the sympathy vote for a fallen hero.

Send to Kindle

Iran’s Intent

By on 1.8.06 | 9:46AM

A Memri translation of a December 3 editorial in an Iranian newspaper states Iran's offer to help establish terrorist militias in other countries.  Here's the money quote:

"...Iranian daily Kayhan International urged Muslim countries to establish a paramilitary force patterned after Iran's Basij, in order to prevent "all meddling powers from coveting Muslim territories… Iran is ready to share its experiences in that field with other countries... If the Islamic world were to mobilize its vast material and manpower resources, then no meddler would ever dare think of casting its covetous eyes at Muslim lands... Therefore, the avowed goal of the liberation of Jerusalem and the elimination of the cancerous tumor called Israel will come much sooner than expected."

Send to Kindle

The Dark Horse Emerges

By on 1.7.06 | 2:09PM

Boehner, Blunt and Pence remain the names on everyone's list, but a DeLay staffer says that the former Majority Leader has his horse in the race and it is ...

Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan.

Rogers is a former FBI agent, a DeLay acolyte and a solid conservative. That DeLay is touting him is significant. As we have said all along, DeLay will play a role in the selection of a new leader.

According to several leadership staff sources, Rogers intends to make a play for a leadership position. "It's not clear that majority leader is what he's looking at. I know that people have talked to him about that, but he really seems interested in moving up the ladder taking a leading role in the caucus," says one source.

Send to Kindle

DeLay DeToast

By on 1.7.06 | 2:00PM

We'll have more on this on Monday morning, but obviously the former Majority Leader did the right thing on Saturday morning by stepping aside and allowing elections to move forward.

DeLay's career has been marked by an uncanny sense of political timing and how the political process works. This resignation is another sign of just that.

That said, Republicans are far from free and clear, and a new leaders will not resolve many of the problems the party faces in the House in the coming weeks.

Send to Kindle

Merkeling Guantanamo

By on 1.7.06 | 12:19PM

So much for improving relations between America and Germany. Just days before meeting with the president, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has delivered herself of the opinion that the detention center at Guantanamo should be closed. The money quote (from Sky News):

"An institution such as Guantanamo cannot and should not continue to exist like that in the long term," she said. "Different means of behaving with the prisoners have to be found."  She must mean we should adopt the German method: releasing convicted terrorist murderers as Germany did only a few weeks ago in turning loose Mohammed Ali Hamadi, one of the killers of US navy diver Robert Stetham in the TWA hijacking in the mid-80s.

Send to Kindle

Pence for Majority Leader

By on 1.6.06 | 7:14PM

The AP doesn't mention Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, in its House elections tea-leaf-reading. But if House Republicans really want fresh, bold, principled leadership -- which Blunt and Boehner are not -- they should look no further than Pence. Though some members are sore that Pence was vocal about spending this year (the "grandstanding" charge just doesn't wash for this humble man from what his staff says privately), he stands for conservatism in all the important fights.

Send to Kindle

Alito’s Way Cleared … Slightly

By on 1.6.06 | 6:57PM

So Stephen R. Dujack, the final witness that Sen. Patrick Leahy thought would create the kind of negative buzz against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, has been pulled.

According to Republican and Democratic Judiciary Committee staffers, the Democrats were aware of Dujack's dubious background as a witness appropriate to a Supreme Court nomination, but felt that resurrecting the Concerned Alumni of Princeton story had enough upside to slide him in. According to one Democratic Committee source, some staffers advised against it, but were overruled by both Sens. Leahy and Kennedy.

"Dujack was Leahy's guy. He wanted him. We got him and vetted him and advised against it," says the Democratic staffer. "We were over-ruled." This source says that there is a consensus among the committee staff -- both parties -- that Alito should be confirmed.

So Dujack is dust, though now Sen. Leahy's staff is offering him to all of the news channels for interviews on Monday. That said, there are sure to be fireworks aplenty as the hearings open.

Send to Kindle

Drudge Headline

By on 1.6.06 | 5:23PM

Drudge has a "Dems Plan to Destroy Alito" head up on his site right now.

We've been hearing that the organization Drudge refers to his in tease is Concerned Alumni of Princeton (see earlier posts). Before everyone gets hot and bothered by this, understand that the Senate staffs of Pat Leahy, Dick Durbin and Ted Kennedy have been pushing this CAP story for more than a month to little effect. In that time, we've heard that the Washington Post and the New York Times were working on stories. Now, they may be sitting on them, but it appeared -- as of earlier this week -- that there simply wasn't anything to the CAP rumors the Dems were peddling.

We won't put it past the MSM to concoct something in time for the Sunday morning talk shows or for the opening of hearings next week, but know this: everyone who has tracked the Alito nomination closely has been aware of CAP and Alito's membership. This all has the whiff of desperation about it.

Send to Kindle

First and Ten

By on 1.6.06 | 4:58PM

It has been learned on good authority (remember that one?) that the Washington Redskins are not among the several Indian Tribes to receive refunds from the Abramoff kitty.

Send to Kindle

Alito’s Way Updated

By on 1.6.06 | 4:23PM

Word off the Hill on the Senate side is that Democrats are divided on how to approach a delay on the vote of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. According the Senate sources, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was none too happy with the leak late yesterday by some of his aides about the planned one-week delay in a Judiciary Committee vote. But just what Democrats will do remains unclear. It appears now that the Democrats seem content to talk a tough good game, but wait to see how the hearings play out before they show their true hand.

While much of the media spotlight of late has focused on Sens. Patrick Leahy and Chuck Schumer, the man to watch next week -- as with the Robert Bork nomination -- is Sen. Ted Kennedy. He is the one spearheading much of the agitation on the Democratic side, and there is talk that if he had his way, the Alito vote would be put off into February.

Send to Kindle

Pages