Saturday, November 22, 2008
The O'Hanlon case is a good illustration of where to draw the line on bringing "Clinton people" into the Obama administration. The Clintons tilted rightward for good reason during the 1990's. They were under tremendous pressure from conservatives and the Democratic Party would have been severely damaged if they hadn't bent to the conservative wind.
But I voted for Hillary Clinton during the primaries because I perceived her as "getting it" on issues like withdrawing from Iraq, NAFTA, free trade, health care reform, energy, and financial sector deregulation. The same case can be said for Clinton-era holdovers like Eric Holder on Guantanamo and torture, former Senate leader Tom Daschle in relation to health care, and Rahm Emmanuel on managing the Obama White House in an environment of ferocious ideological conflict.
But Michael O'Hanlon definitely isn't on board on withdrawing from Iraq and is still saying that Obama's plan to get out of Iraq in 16 months is ill-considered.
O'Hanlon definitely doesn't get it.
If Hillary does bring O'Hanlon into the State Department, that would be a sign that she doesn't get it as well.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Attorney General Mukasey was roughly twenty minutes into a speech defending the administration's torture policies and particularly arguing against prosecutions of people who made decisions in the aftermath of 9/11 (essentially arguing against what he believed amounted to the criminalization of policy differences).Conservatives often speak of bringing God more in American public life. That might have been the hand of God right there.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Of course, Mrs. RSI couldn't find her own cell phone either.
And therein lies the problem with the RSI children.
They inherited our genes.
When is Obama going to appoint someone who reflects the progressive base that brought him to the White House?The Democratic coalition has several (overlapping) "base" elements, including the largely white constituencies that identify themselves as liberals, African-Americans, Hispanics, gay people, unions, and young people.
My impression (I haven't seen any data on this) is that progressives are largely white. Certainly, one rarely sees African-American or Hispanic issues on general progressive blogs like Talking Points Media or Huffington Post. When progressives characterize themselves as the base, they miss out on the multi-racial "rainbow" character of the Democratic Party. They are also fundamentally myopic in failing to view themselves as in alliance with other groups.
When progressives view themselves as "the base," they are deceiving themselves. I just hope that it doesn't come back to bite us in the butt.
Having said that, I'm still admire John Dingell. When the Gingrich Republicans took over in 1994, John Dingell was already 68 years old and he could have joined a lot of senior Democrats in retiring to something cushy. But Dingell stayed and fought back against the Republicans. And fought hard. Dingell is one of the reasons why the Democrats have returned to the majority and deserves credit even if he no longer deserves his chair position.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Do the Republicans have short-term rooted in the unpopularity of the Bush administration or long-term problems rooted in the unpopularity of conservative ideology?
But the answer is both.
For those who see the problems as only short term, the recent election was hopeful because Obama only beat John McCain by 6.7%. McCain rallied a conservative base that added up to 46% of the electorate even in the worst conditions of an unpopular war, financial meltdown, and hostility to President Bush. In this context, Republican optimists believe that conservatives should be able to rally a majority when conditions get more favorable.
But this is the rub for the optimists. The Bush administration is not going to stop being unpopular on Jan. 20. The war in Iraq isn't going to be less unpopular. The same with the Bush administration's war on science, ignoring the environment, and refusal to deal with climate change. Figures like George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales are going to live on in American politics but aren't going to get any less unpopular.
The Bush administration is a long term rather than a short-term problem for the Republicans.
So is Barack Obama.
The McCain campaign was able to effectively raise questions about Barack Obama being an "empty celebrity," "pal of terrorists," and "socialist" during the campaign. But now that Obama's going to be president, those questions aren't going to count anymore.
Worse for the Republicans, there's a lot that Obama can do to make the broader American public happy. At the top of the list is withdrawing from Iraq, but closing Guantanamo, ending torture, cutting middle-class taxes, getting a start on alternative energy, addressing climate change, are all going to be popular as well.
That's how the short-term trend is primed to be a long-term trend.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I still don't think the Secretary of State position is a natural for Hillary.
But Hillary would certainly make a hell of a lot better Secretary of State than the over-rated Bill Richardson, the over-bearing Richard Holbrooke, or the over-the-hill Madeleine Albright.
So, I'm on board with the selection.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
But Goodwin was also corrupt down to her tippy-toes.
First, Goodwin's The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys "used a number of phrases and sentences without quotation marks that had been drawn from three earlier works: Rose Kennedy's "Time to Remember," Hank Searls's "The Lost Prince," and Lynne McTaggart's "Kathleen Kennedy: Her Life and Times."
It wasn't bad enough that Goodwin was writing yet another useless book on the Kennedy's, but she couldn't even write her own book.
Then, Goodwin dug further into corruption by paying off Lynn McTaggert when McTaggert called her out on the passages taken from McTaggert's book.
According to McTaggert,
"I read her book and was shocked because there were many similarities. I contacted my publisher, combed the manuscripts side by side, and my lawyers contacted her at my behest with threat of a suit" for "serious copyright infringement" and "papers ready to be filed in court."
To top it off, Goodwin then had the gall to lie to the media and deny the plagiarism even after paying off McTaggert.
Personally, I don't see where Goodwin is any better than a fabulist like Stephen Glass who just made up the sensational stories he wrote for the New Republic.
But Goodwin didn't take being caught light. Her book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln about Lincoln and his cabinet was a determined attempt to rehabilitate her reputation and get herself back in the good graces of polite liberal society.
And I'm sorry to say that the gambit was successful. Now that Barack Obama's considering Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, the "team of rivals" idea is all over the media and Goodwin's being interviewed once again as an "expert" on the presidency.
And the fact that Goodwin is a cheat and a fraud has practically been forgotten.
The conservative senator . . . described how the party had strayed from its own "brand," which . . . should represent freedom, religious-based values and limited government . . . "McCain, who is proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver's seat," DeMint said. "His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election."
Conservatives need to ask themselves this question though. Would a more "orthodox" conservative have done better than John McCain? Line them up. Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal--would any of them come as close as John McCain at 52-46%? What about the Tennessee Triplets of Hard-Working Fred Thompson, LAMAR! Alexander, and "Diagnosing Terry Schiavo is Easy" Bill Frist? Ex-Senators George Allen or Rick Santorum could have run. They're both effective politicians and about as orthodox as "movement conservatives" can get.
But the answer is no. Newt Gingrich has only recently been replaced by Sarah Palin as the most unpopular politician in America. Giuliani is extremely popular until people actually have contact with him. Mike Huckabee isn't any more of an orthodox conservative than McCain. Allen and Santorum were defeated in the swing states of Virginia and Pennsylvania respectively--Santorum by 19 points.
And Bobby Jindal wasn't any more ready for prime-time than Palin.
Conservativism just isn't that popular right now and conservatives would have found that out if they had nominated someone more conservative than John McCain.
But isn't there a kind of harmonic convergence between Goldstein and the Weathermen now that Jeff' has embraced his inner "Outlaw" and embarked on a minor (very minor!) terrorist campaign against coffee shops and recycling.
Maybe Jeff should look on Ayers as a role model.