Friday, October 10, 2003

Schwarzenegger's impact

There's a good article in OpinionJournal today by Daniel Henninger, backing up my statement that Arnold helps the GOP by being "cool." He's a superstar who, like Rudy Giuliani, will benefit Republicans across the country by his presence on the national stage. His fundraising potential for the GOP is huge.

I also like his quote that McClintock's "intellectual clarity has done for California GOP politics what Steve Forbes did for the national party." Yes, that's quite true. McClintock, by refraining from attacking Arnold as the campaign came to its conclusion, bought himself a lot of good will with the electorate and (I'm sure) with Schwarzenegger. He, like Forbes nationally, established the GOP as the party of right-thinking, intelligent people who want real solutions.

So the California recall, overall, presents Republicans as "cool" and as "smart," while presenting Democrats as whiny, corrupt losers. That what makes the Democratic spin attempts so funny.

(Hat tip to the Power Line.)

UPDATE: John McIntyre is right -- the left is in total denial.
Tenet's head must roll

That's the message in an editorial from NY Rep. Peter King in today's Post.

The Wilson incident raises troubling issues and serious concerns. Why did the CIA entrust a non-CIA man with such a sensitive assignment? Wasn't the CIA aware that Wilson opposed the Bush policy in Iraq? How extensive was Wilson's investigation? Why didn't the CIA take action against Wilson when he went public against Bush and revealed the details of his mission?

Why didn't the CIA point out that Wilson's investigation never addressed what the president said in his State of the Union speech, that the British source was separate from the CIA's and that the British stand by their finding to this day. In other words, that despite Wilson's posturing and outrage, everything the president said about Niger was true.

Against this backdrop, isn't the position of Wilson's spouse at the CIA a matter of legitimate concern or debate? Isn't it more significant that we have a rogue spy machine operating at cross purposes with our national interest than who said what to Robert Novak?

And how much credibility should we give to Wilson, who shows off pictures of his wife, comparing her to an actress in a TV spy drama?

I'm not willing to go as far as Chris Regan is and demand that Wilson and Plame take lie detector tests, but this has to be the last straw for George Tenet, no matter how much President Bush likes him.

Good for Rush

His statement today was honest, and he took responsibility:

I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons.

They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes.

They are the role models. I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem.

Ironically, Rush's honesty and humility actually do make him a role model.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Good odds for Gephardt?

Via the Daily Kos, I came across this item in US News:

Don't count Dick Gephardt out of the Democratic presidential race is the message coming from top party officials. Long the favorite of many in Democratic Party HQ for his years in Washington as minority leader and chief congressional fundraiser, senior officials are now pitching him as the alternative to Howard Dean who has shunned Washington in his fast-moving campaign. What's Geppy got? Insiders say he's still labor's choice and the union vote could push him over Dean in the early primary and caucus states. He's also strong in Iowa, home to the first presidential caucus. Of course, fans of Sen. John Kerry say he's the best alternative. Ditto for those of Wes Clark.

It's now pretty clear that the race for the Democratic nomination is going to come down to a Dean vs. somebody campaign. Wesley Clark had a legitimate chance to be that somebody, but as I state below, I think he's pretty much blown it. John Kerry also seems to lack a coherent message and his campaign seems in disarray. Lieberman and Edwards look increasingly like long shots. I think the odds are good that Gephardt comes out of Iowa with some steam and ends up being the main challenger to Dean. We'll see.
Valerie Plame and the CIA

As I wrote in the comments to this Dan Drezner post, I've thought that the biggest question about Plame is the lax CIA security that allowed it to be "common knowledge" around Washington that Plame worked for the CIA. To my thinking, internal CIA security seemed to be the biggest issue here. Now, Mark Steyn has come up with a bigger one:

It's one thing not to be a card-carrying neocon, quite another to be as antipathetic to the administration and the war as this fellow. The White House asked the CIA, the CIA recommended Wilson, and their recommendation was accepted automatically ... an agency known to be opposed to war in Iraq sent an employee's spouse also known to be opposed to war in Iraq on a perfunctory joke mission.

It's time for Tenet to go.

Meanwhile, the Instaman has a lot more links.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

More thoughts on Rush Limbaugh

It is abundantly clear that black Americans still face discrimination in our society. This is not a topic that most conservatives like to think about, but it is one that cannot be ignored.

With that in mind, Jay Nordlinger writes today on something that I had thought about myself.

To me, it's simply a given that people root for black persons to succeed, certainly in positions from which they have been excluded. You could say that it's only decent that people engage in such rooting.

Like Jay, I'm proud to say that I root for black people to succeed, even over white people, in positions where they are underrepresented. (The converse of this is also true, as I root for white basketball players like Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol to prove that white men can jump.) Unlike Jay, though, I don't think it's a given or natural -- I think people naturally root for those most like themselves. I think people actually have to make a decision to reject this unconscious racism.

Anyway, it's self-evident that Rush is right that people want black quarterbacks to succeed. If you need it, John Lott offers some statistical evidence.

UPDATE: Jay Nordlinger today prints an email from a conservative reader:

"About rooting for blacks: I do it all the time. Especially on Jeopardy. Needless to say, the show has very high standards. I know, as my nephew (age 13) did extremely well in a try-out last year and wasn't selected. For whatever reason, the population of contestants is skewed toward white males. I am thrilled to see black contestants, root for them, and look forward to the day when their numbers increase.

Clark's stumbles

Lost in the California story is the fact that Wesley Clark has had a horrible 24 hours. Not only did his campaign manager resign, but it appears that he's broken campaign finance regulations.

Clark has already made a number of huge mistakes that have severly damaged his chances of winning the Democratic nomination. Since he had been considering jumping into the race for months, he should've used that time to put together a campaign team, figure out where he stood on the issues, and, yes, bother to change his party registration to Democrat. Instead, he's making everything up as he goes and blowing his chance.

UPDATE: With this in mind, it's ironic to hear Clark complain that we didn't have a plan for post-war Iraq -- that President Bush is just making it up as he goes.

UPDATE: I missed this TNR bit that basically says the same thing.
Spanking cousins

The leading candidate for coronor in East Baton Rouge Parish is in trouble. In addition to his failed attempt to cover up a DWI conviction and the revelation that he currently has an outstanding bench warrant out for his arrest because of his failure to pay a traffic ticket, he now has to deal with this:

Two adult cousins of coroner candidate Jerry Sanders told sheriff's deputies last year that Sanders sometimes paddles their buttocks in return for rent and tuition money, but Sanders said Tuesday that he only paddled them as punishment for misdeeds.

According to a report by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, the deputies responded to a 911 call at Sanders' south Baton Rouge home last November, where his two cousins -- both in their early 20s -- said they had gone to receive their latest round of "swattings," as they called the practice.

One of the men was quoted in the report as saying Sanders had shoved him after the man refused to masturbate while being videotaped.

Bizarre, no? This guy never thought about the skeletons in his closet.

Sanders has run with the support of Coroner Louis Cataldie, who is not seeking reelection after one full term.

"If I'd known all this crap was going to come up, I would have said from Day 1, 'Dr. Cataldie, let me think about it,'" he said about running for office.

UPDATE: Here's the story from a press conference where he says that paddling his 23-year-old cousin is "tough love."

UPDATE II: Sanders has decided to withdraw from the race.

Democratic anger

It's funny, because I thought some Democrats would be glad to get rid of Gray Davis, an unpopular albatross around the party's neck who was dragging their party down. But no, most of them are spitting mad. Look at Daily Kos saying "Recall Arnold!" and the comments on this CalPundit post. One of the comments was so (unintentionally) funny that I had to reproduce part of it here.

Even though I live in New Jersey I'll be making a $100 contribution to the first credible group that steps forward to start Schwarzenegger recall petitions. (Moveon.org maybe) [Yes, she really did propose that "Moveon.org" recall Arnold.]

I wasn't really for Arnold -- I probably would have ended up voting for McClintock, but Arnold's victory will be a boost for the GOP nationwide by helping make it "cool" again. A huge defeat for the Democrats is also a good thing, no matter what kind of governor Arnold turns out to be.

UPDATE: Tom Bevan shares some of my sentiments about last night's results.

UPDATE: John Hawkins has more hilarious Democrat reactions to Arnold's win.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

While I was out

I haven't posted anything in a week, so I'm still playing catch up, but here are some quick takes on a number of items. I'll post my thoughts tomorrow on the Louisiana gubernatorial election.

Iraq's constitution
Those appointed by Iraq's Governing Council to set the stage for Iraq's new constitution have reported that they are deeply divided on the process of selecting delegates to a constitutional convention. John Cullinan thinks that this is a good development because it forces Iraqis to start confronting important issues and notes that much more attention is being paid to Iraq's new constitution than was paid to Afghanistan's. Meanwhile, David Brooks argues persuasively that this process is far more important than issues relating to security and reconstruction -- but it is receiving much less attention.

Iraq media coverage
Yesterday's Washington Post contained a riveting item detailing the horrors at Saddam's Abu Ghraib prison complex. To force the media to change its overall negative coverage of our operations in Iraq, Frank Gaffney recommends that President Bush travel to Baghdad, something that would be very brave and provide the President with a tremendous political boost. Meanwhile, Bryan Preston notes that the media glossed over the important finds in David Kay's interim report.

California recall
Maureen Dowd has written her first intelligent column in months, and the column would be worth reading for that reason alone, but she also packs a wallop against today's so-called "feminists." Hugh Hewitt, meanwhile, eviscerates the L.A. Times and notes the huge loss in credibility and the fact that over a thousand people canceled their subscriptions over the Arnold smear.

Global warming
Gregg Easterbrook points out that Russia may not ratify the Kyoto protocal because global warming would benefit Russia economically. I bet that a lot of people in Buffalo and Duluth feel the same way.

Rush Limbaugh
John Hawkins has the most complete coverage of the whole Rush situation. The resignation from ESPN was totally unwarranted, as Spoons points out. What Rush said is obviously true to some extent. It's too early to comment on the drug story, because we really don't know very much yet.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Back from Disney

Well, I'm back from Walt Disney World and very relaxed and happy. I had a wonderful time with my wife and daughter, and I haven't kept up with the news at all. I'll post something once I've had time to digest some of the headlines.

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