The Spectacle Blog

A Clear View From Down Under

By on 1.8.06 | 3:54PM

The Sydney Morning Herald has a great analysis of the Bush presidency -- this from our ever-steady friends in Oz. From the piece, entitled "Bush Survives -- with a little help from his enemies," comes also this gem about the Democrats:

There's something else Bush has going for him: a politically inept and hopelessly divided Democratic Party in which it is never clear who speaks for it on any issue.

The excuse Democrats make for their ineptitude is that they control neither house of Congress nor the White House, which means they are virtually powerless to influence, let alone dictate, policy. But that does not explain why the leadership of the party in Congress is so mediocre or why, after John Kerry's bitter defeat in November 2004 because he couldn't decide where he stood on Iraq or the war on terrorism, the Democrats can't make up their minds where they stand on either issue.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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