Saturday, October 04, 2003
APPARENTLY, ARNOLD IS NO MR. STERLING
On this evening's Mclaughlin Group, Lawrence O'Donnell referred to Arnold Schwarzenegger as the most "...wildly lying politician in America..." in terms of policy and his past.
By the way, the Mclaughlin Group is one step closer to putting together this millenniums Algonquin Roundtable now that Pat O'Brien has joined the Mclaughlin family of panelists. O'Brien's hard-hitting prediction: Ben and J-Lo will, indeed, get married.
Friday, October 03, 2003
FLASH FORWARD TO ELECTION NIGHT-HARDBALL STYLE
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to the special California Recall edition of HARDBALL. Tonight, we are joined by an extremely distinguished panel, former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, “Newsweek”‘s political guru and the smartest man on the planet Howard Fineman, senior political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, and bleeding-heart liberal Democrat Pat Cadell.
OK, let’s get back to Arnold’s big win. Howard, you were saying the attacks on Arnold didn’t hurt him…
FINEMAN: Exactly. California voters were so ready to rid themselves of Democrat Gray Davis that they were willing to concede that their candidate hadn’t lead a perfect life.
MATTHEWS: OK, let’s run down the timing. On Thursday we get the charges, the LA Times deal, chicks said Arnold got a little touchy-feely…
O’DONNELL: Well, it was a bit more than that Chris. But not much.
MATTHEWS: Then Friday we hear the quote that Arnold admired Hitler…
FINEMAN: Well, clearly the timing of this revelation was a sure sign of dirty politics, so most voters didn’t really give it much weight.
MATTHEWS: Right, he liked Hitler, big deal. On Saturday they released the videotape of Arnold being initiated into that Nazi group, wearing that Hitler-like uniform…
O’DONNELL: You know Chris, I’m a little embarrassed because I thought this story might have some legs…
FINEMAN: One day story. Voters didn’t care.
MATTHEWS: OK, but Sunday Arnold inexplicably robbed a 7-11 convenience store at gun point, and the numbers took a hit, right Howard?
FINEMAN: No doubt about it. Through two news cycles, Arnold’s numbers were in free-fall. With the voters seeing that video of Arnold hitting the store clerk with the butt of his gun, he was in real trouble.
MATTHEWS: As political strategy, did the convenience store robbery work? Peggy Noonan…
NOONAN: Short term no, long term, almost assuredly yes. I think what it showed was, hey, Arnold is a ballsy guy. I mean, can anyone at this table honestly envision Gray Davis robbing a 7-11?
MATTHEWS: Pat Cadell, what is the left saying? Do they want their governors to be able to knock off small businesses on a whim?
CADELL: Well, I think the voters want a guy who has the ability to rob a 7-11, but doesn’t necessarily do it two days before a statewide election.
MATTHEWS: Pat Cadell showing that the left can always find something wrong with Republicans. Is that sour grapes Peggy?
NOONAN: Chris, I’m willing to concede that the Democrats want a governor who absolutely refuses to take such bold action like robbing a convenience store, and, I mean it was totally unexpected, golly, do you want a governor who runs his life by polling data? Clearly, California does not.
MATTHEWS: Finally, on Monday, yesterday, some group, some say has direct ties to either James Carville or Sid Blumenthal, big-time Democrats for, sure, released a tape of Arnold sexually assaulting the Olsen twins at the Oscars in 1998. Howard, the tape was graphic, and contained nudity, and I have to say, watching that tape last night at home, well, let me just say that I woke Mrs. Matthews up when I went to bed. How did it play in California?
FINEMAN: Yeah, the voters were saying, ‘hey, we’ve had enough of this gotcha politics’. Arnolds numbers actually went up after the Olsen twin tape was released, and we know the Olsen twins have signed to play themselves in a TV movie for Fox, so, it was a win-win.
MATTHEWS: Lawrence, what about people who say that a videotape of a candidate brutally and sexually assaulting a pair of young, nubile, supple twins should disqualify him?
O’DONNELL: Maybe in the ‘90’s, when Washington, and the country for that matter, was struggling under that cloud of immorality brought on by the Clintons, this would have been a deal breaker. But, there is a new rule under the leadership of George W. Bush, and that rule says things that happened in the past should stay in the past.
MATTHEWS: Pat, what do you think of ignoring a candidate's past?
CADELL: Well, the simple fact of the matter, and I wish the Democrats would accept this, is that there are no people out there that live decent, clean lives.
MATTHEWS: Peggy, no clean livers out there?
NOONAN: Since Ronald Reagan died, we do have very few absolutely clean and decent folks in public service. Luckily, those few people happen to make up the Republican leadership with the moral leader being George W. Bush.
MATTHEWS: Once again, Peggy Noonan nails it. Absolutely nails it. We’ll come right back with more with our panel. What impact is this win going to have on the country? Come back and find out.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
JERRY SPRINGER TRANSCENDS POLITICS
Today's episode of Jerry Springer (Loving You Hurts) was a rather complex discussion group that really wasn't brought into focus until Jerry tied everything together with his "Final Thought". However, there was an amusing moment that could be worth watching as the presidential election approaches.
Near the end of the program, a young, wholesome-looking woman stood up to ask a question, but went off-topic by telling Jerry:
I just want to say I love George W. Bush.
The crowd broke out a chant of USA! USA!, but quickly changed directions and then began encouraging the innocent looking blonde woman to relieve herself of her upper garment. The blushing Bush fan smiled and demurred. She wouldn't be taking off her top on national TV seconds after endorsing the president.
"DO IT FOR GEORGE! DO IT FOR GEORGE!" the crowd began to chant, when suddenly the young Republican had a change of heart. She quickly jumped on the stage and pulled her top up for everyone to see.
While it was a beautiful and touching moment, shouldn't Democrats take note of the bizarre hold George W. Bush has over the young people?
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
MAKE SURE THEY ARE THE RIGHT OPINIONS
Rush Limbaugh's resignation from ESPN will certainly cause much merriment amongst the leftward leaning blogs, and I suspect we'll be able to find a blog or two that will claim credit for Limbaugh's demise.
I won't be celebrating.
I just can't get behind trying to get somebody fired for expressing their opinion, and in this case I get the feeling that the engine driving this story is fueled by manufactured outrage. And the ultimate reason Rush had to resign today is not because he has an opinion that is so offensive that viewers turned against him and the show, it's because he brought up a topic that people didn't want to hear about.
As I understand things, Limbaugh was hired to give his opinions. I guess he should have checked which opinions would be acceptable.
WITH A WHIMPER AND NOT A BANG
So ended the Zoe Bartlett kidnapping saga. For the second consecutive episode, the focus of The West Wing was jittery, at best. While this may just be a bump in the road, the disappointing start to the season could be signaling that Aaron Sorkin was the straw that stirred the drink and cannot be replaced.
I'm rooting for the former, but expecting the latter.
REFLECTION WITH THE BENEFIT OF TIME
In this era of 24 hour news, opinion on demand, and the internet, it's often hard to be able to objectively view an issue or story when it first breaks. With so much white noise flying at us these days, sometimes it does take the passage of time for us to be able to gauge the scope of a situation.
That being said, and with the benefit of 15 months of careful and reasoned reflection, I still have no idea what Cal Thomas was smoking when he not only wrote the following, but signed his name to it:
On the eve of our great national birthday party and in the aftermath of Sept. 11, when millions of us turned to God and prayed for forgiveness of individual and corporate sins and asked for His protection against future attacks, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has inflicted on this nation what many will conclude is a greater injury than that caused by the terrorists.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
VISITING WITH A FRIEND
My friend came to see me today, and he was looking glum.
“She’s getting worse, you know.” he mumbles.
“That’s what they tell me.” I answer.
“She looks bad. She may not make it.” he says.
“Come on, give her some time. She’ll bounce back. She always does.” I tell him.
“It’s that stupid doctor. He doesn’t know what in the hell he’s doing.” he says, his voice rising.
“He’s been her doctor for a long time now.” I fire back.
“So what? He’s killing her. I want to get her to replace him.” he says.
“Weren’t you saying the same exact thing about a year ago?” I asked. “He was killing her and you wanted to replace him. You went on and on about it.”
“Yeah, but this time she’s really, really sick. If it weren’t for that damn doctor, she’d be training for the marathon. She’s a bull when she’s healthy.” he says, looking off wistfully.
“No argument here.” I nod.
“So, you think we oughta get a new doctor for her?”
“Who you got in mind?”
“New guy. Just starting out in medicine, but that boy is smart as a whip.” he declares.
“Hmmmm, what’s his specialty?” I wonder.
“You mean in medicine?” he asks.
“Um, yeah.” I answer.
“Well, I just told you he’s just starting out. But he was big in real estate, boy! He owned the real estate market, I’m here to tell you.” he says, beaming now.
“Real estate, huh?” I ask with my brows arched.
“He ruled the industry.” he says.
“You check with any of his old patients, see if he’s any good?” I ask.
“How many times do I have to tell you, he’s just starting out in medicine. But I’m telling you, I talked to him and he is so confident, and he says he knows exactly what to do get her better and fast.” he says, speaking very quickly now.
“Yeah, what’s he want to do?”
“Well, we didn’t talk specifics, if that’s what you mean. But you take it from me, he’s the right doctor to get her up on her feet.” he says forcefully.
“So, you voting for the recall.” I ask my friend.
“Oh, yeah” he says.
THEN AND NOW
September 17, 2003
MATTHEWS: Yes. Who told you that, Paul Wolfowitz or Doug Feith? Just guessing. Let me ask you, who you did you vote for in 2000 for president?
CLARK: I voted for Al Gore.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you. Do you think the Supreme Court was right to intervene in the election of 2000?
CLARK: No, I don’t.
September 26, 2003
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the Clark. Is it a souffle or is here to stay?
BRAZILE: I think Clark is going to stay on the playing field for a lot longer than I expected in the beginning. He is, right now, building momentum. He has tremendous grassroots support. But, you know, I have one issue that I have to raise with him at some point. And that is, did he vote for Al Gore? I mean, now we ...
MATTHEWS: That’s a great question. He hasn’t said that yet, has he?
BRAZILE: No. I mean, he’s talked about Reagan. He’s talked about Nixon. You know, I want to know if he voted for Al Gore? So that’s-that’s a question I am going to put to him.
MATTHEWS: If he didn’t?
BRAZILE: Well, I have-then I would have issues with...
Monday, September 29, 2003
GOOD ADVICE THAT WILL PROBABLY BE IGNORED
It looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger won't be back when it comes to debates. However, Tom McClintock has generously offered to take Schwarzenegger's place and debate Gov. Gray Davis.
Davis should take him up on it right away.
A debate with McClintock won't be viewed by as many people as the debate with Arnold, but it will get some attention. Better yet, a lot of light be shined upon the fact that Arnold decided the California voters didn't deserve another job interview.
The politicos surrounding Davis won't let Gray do it, but quite frankly, it's time to throw the 'hail mary'. Besides, if Davis can't mop the floor with a conservative Republican in California, he doesn't deserve to keep his job.
CalPundit (I know, I know, there are other blogs out there to complain about but this one is in my favorites folder and it's so easy to get there...), has a post implying that columnist Bob Novak holds some culpability in The Valerie Plame/Wilsongate story. He links to a Drudge story in which Novak explains his role in the imbroglio. CalPundit's final flourish includes this inexplicable sentence:
Novak is trying to get himself off the hook for bad behavior — which is fine, since it's the leakers who are at fault here, not the journalist who reported the leak — but the basic facts remain the same.
What bad behavior is Novak guilty of? He got his hands on a pretty good story and went to press with it. Some may argue that the CIA 'asked' him to withhold Plame'sname, and to those I would ask 'Who gives a fat rat's ass what the CIA asked for?'
Novak got his scoop honestly. He wasn't off the record, and he had two sources. I wonder, what else was he supposed to do to avoid this 'bad behavior'?
CAN WE AT LEAST AGREE ON A NAME?
The situation involving the possible leak of an undercover CIA agent's identity has exploded all over the internet and now, finally, the mainstream media. The only problem with the story now is that it doesn't have a name, like Watergate, Iran-Contra, or Whitewater.
Josh Marshall was using the Wilson/Plame story, but only moments ago changed over to Wilsongate.
CalPundit seems to rely on The Plame Affair.
Robert Garcia Tagorda over at Priorities and Frivolities likes the more formal The Valerie Plame Affair.
Atrios used the Plame Affair once, and never referred to the story by name again.
The guys over at NRO seem to like Wilson's Problem.
My point is, we aren't going to see anybody frogmarched anywhere unless we can agree on a catchy name.
IS THE CALPUNDIT DISSIN' ME?
I'm beginning to wonder if Kevin Drum, the inimitable CalPundit, might be ignoring the happenings in Berry's World.
For example, this morning CalPundit links to Slacktivist for a definition of "frogmarch". Slacktivist's post contains the very same definition of "frogmarch" that I had posted hours before.
Then, CalPundit links to Dan Drezner who is asking why the president isn't more concerned about finding out who in the White House leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent. Almost the same exact question I was wondering about 12 hours earlier.
I'm starting to think that Kevin still holds a grudge from when I crashed his New Years Eve party, made a major pass at his wife, and passed out in his laundry room. Some people can be so sensitive.
I'VE SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE
In Huey Lewis' song Trouble In Paradice there is this passage:
Said I, seen this movie and it don't end nice.
Looks like trouble in paradise.
I kind of feel like that today. Back in 2000, a fairly conservative Republican friend of mine and I would discuss the presidential election nearly every day. Nearly everyday I would bemoan that George W. Bush was simply unqualified to be the President of the United States, and nearly everyday my friend would explain to me that maybe George W. Bush's resume isn't what I want, but he would surround himself with the best people to keep him from making any major mistakes.
We all saw how stunningly well that has worked out.
Now there is another political neophite who certainly appears to be unqualified to hold the office he seeks, and we're hearing that same old refrain:
I believe that Arnold has the where-with-all to surround himself with the counsel to bring the state back to the status it once enjoyed.---by Leo Lacayo on ChronWatch.
Except for this -- I figure at worst, Arnold will surround himself with experienced, intelligent political aides. Aides do most of the work anyway,---Howard Owens.
"I know he is smart enough to surround himself with a very good Cabinet,"---Alex Gutierrez in the Antelope Valley Press.
Consider this: If a loved one was sick, would you rush out and get a doctor who has never, ever seen a patient? Why, then, would you want to do that with California?
I WOULDN'T SIGN MY NAME TO IT EITHER
Over at MSNBC they have a Whine Of The Week column that singles out the person or persons that go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to whining. This week's 'winner' is Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
What did Paterno do to earn this dubious honor?
He yelled at the refs.
Seriously. That's the best they could do. I looked for the writer's name, but the story didn't list an author. I can only surmise that the column is staff-written, or the actual author is so damn humiliated and embarrassed that he didn't want to be associated with his own work.
I'm betting the latter.
If you haven't already, slide on over to either TPM or The White House and read the morning briefing. Question after question after question on the Wilson/Plame story.
I WONDER WHO DID THAT
So I'm watching a rerun of the West Wing tonight, (for the record it was the second episode made, Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc) when an odd thing happened.
In the episode, President Bartlett's new doctor (played by under-rated actor Reuben Santiago-Hudson) is killed on a flight to Jordan. When Leo McGarry goes in the Oval Office to tell the president the news, McGarry explains that credit for shooting down the plane was being taken by a "fundamentalist group".
Oddly, on the TV I was watching I have the closed captions on (mainly because I can't figure out how to turn them off) but the closed captions said that the plane was actually shot down by a "Muslim fundamentalist group".
I guess that after 9-11, somebody thought that the word Muslim should be removed.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
BEWARE WHEN PEOPLE DISCOUNT THEIR OWN INTELLIGENCE
Remember in The Godfather when Michael goes to meet with Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey under the pretense of making peace? At one point the conversation goes like this:
Michael: What I want -- what's most important to me -- is that I have a guarantee: No more attempts on my father's life.
Sollozzo: What guarantees could I give you, Mike? I am the hunted one! I missed my chance. You think too much of me, kid -- I'm not that clever. All I want, is a truce.
My mind flashes on that scene everytime I hear somebody claim that they aren't that clever or smart. I am immediately put on my guard, because that person is really saying that they are indeed that smart, and they actually think they are so smart that they can put the wool over your eyes.
So, reading that Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit claim that the Wilson/Plame story is 'too complicated' for him to figure out just makes me laugh. Reynolds, at one point, was able to give a clear description of the parole evidence rule, the statute of frauds, AND the commerce clause, but the Wilson/Plame story is just too big to wrap his brain around?
OH, THAT'S ALL IT TAKES
So, you want to write a TV show and land it in primetime, huh? OK, here's what you do:
1) Take an old crime, like, say, the Martha Moxley murder.
2) Change the ending, but still keep it extremely predictable.
3) Throw in a cute woman to play your detective.
Mix it all together and you've got Cold Case, which premiered on CBS tonight. Basically, it's Law and Order For Dummies. Oh, wait, Law and Order: Criminal Intent is Law and Order For Dummies, so Cold Case would be like the CliffsNotes for Law and Order.
GEORGE W. BUSH, IN A NUTSHELL
This paragraph from a Washington Post story speaks volumes about our president:
White House officials said they would turn over phone logs if the Justice Department asked them to. But the aides said Bush has no plans to ask his staff members whether they played a role in revealing the name of an undercover officer who is married to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, one of the most visible critics of Bush's handling of intelligence about Iraq.
Leaving aside the propriety of waiting to be asked to provide the phone logs, every American should ask themselves why an American president would not, at least, "ask his staff members" if they were involved with outting an undercover CIA agent.
The president's behavior is inexcusable.
POLITICALLY INCORRECT OBSERVATION AHEAD
Arnold Schwarzenegger is running a commercial claiming that he will induce the Indian casinos to pay taxes in our state that causes me to run, not walk, to the remote so I can hit the mute button. Actually, Schwarzenegger's view doesn't seem out of line to me. I would support requiring the Indian casinos to pay taxes.
What drives me absolutely bonkers is Schwarzenegger saying the words "...their fair share."
With Arnold's accent, that phrase sounds like a dentist's drill going through my upper bicuspid while the dentist is thinking about fingernails scratching a chalkboard.
WHY DON'T I FEEL LUCKY?
"Dr. Condoleezza Rice is an honest, fabulous person, and America is lucky to have her service. Period."
President George Bush, 7-30-03.
"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile,"
Condaleeza Rice, 5-16-02
"The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,"
Condaleeza Rice, 9-8-02
President Bush and his national security adviser did not entirely read the most authoritative prewar assessment of U.S. intelligence on Iraq, including a State Department claim that an allegation Bush would later use in his State of the Union address was "highly dubious," White House officials said yesterday.
Washington Post Story By Dana Milbank and Dana Priest, 7-19-03.
". . . if there was something that was really underestimated, it was how really awful Saddam Hussein was to his own people,"
Condoleeza Rice, 9-9-03
MR. RUSSERT: How’d [the uranium from Niger claim] get back in [the State of the Union address]?
DR. RICE: It’s not a matter of getting back in. It’s a matter, Tim, that three-plus months later, people didn’t remember that George Tenet had asked that it be taken out of the Cincinnati speech and then it was cleared by the agency. I didn’t remember. Steve Hadley didn’t remember. We are trying to put now in place methods so you don’t have to be dependent on people’s memories for something like that.
MR. RUSSERT: Did you ever read the memo that I referenced?
DR. RICE: I don’t remember the memo.
Meet The Press, 9-29-03 (Courtesy of uggabugga)
IT REALLY MEANS SOMETHING
Reading up on the Wilson/Plame story, the most memorable quote seems to involve Karl Rove being 'frog-marched' out of the White House in handcuffs.
To be honest, I got a kick out of "frog-marched', but I didn't think it was really a word. I just figured it was one of those quaint sayings that doesn't really mean anything, like "off the hook', or "I love you".
Well, you can only imagine how red my face was when I found that "frog-march" actually means something:
Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang
FROGMARCH verb [mid-19th century and still in use] to carry someone face down, one person holding onto each limb; used on drunks or recalcitrant prisoners.
By the way, now would be a good time for Democrats to avoid appearing too happy should misfortune visit some higher ups in the White House. I'm not sure my advice will be heeded by all, as I haven't seen Scoobie Davis this happy since he sneaked on to the lot of the One Day At A Time reunion movie and Bonnie Franklin gave him a hummer.
COMING SOON: AMERICA AT IT'S BEST
Josh Marshall, over at Talking Points Memo, has been all over the Wilson/Plame story like Oprah on a baked ham.
This story will give our nation a chance to show our greatness.
This story provides us with a chance to show that certain things are outside the wide scope of politics. A chance to show that there are certain things that you simply can't do, no matter who you are, no matter who you work for, and no matter why you did it. A chance for America to be proud again.
I'm a sucker for an underdog, so I'll take the United States and the points.