Saturday, October 11, 2003
David Broder, man of few words:
On last week's Meet the Press
we thought that David Broder didn't have much to offer. Now we've checked the transcript
and it confirms our view. He spoke only five times on substance (with an additional two remarks at the end of the show about his appearance 40 years ago). 467 words. Here they are:
ON THE PLAME SCANDAL
The principle is pretty simple. It is the government’s responsibility to keep the government’s secrets secret. It is not the press’ responsibility. Our inclination, once we have information, is to try to verify it, to amplify as much as we can, the background and the context. But our basic obligation, then, is to share information with the public. What routinely is done, is what Bob said he did in this case, which is to say to the government agency, “Is there any reason why I ought to do what is unnatural, which is to withhold the information?” Now, I don’t know what was said specifically to Bob, as to that case. We have his word as to what it was, and he had to make the judgment as to whether they gave him a compelling reason to withhold that name.
Well, I was at the Democratic National Committee meeting yesterday where Al Sharpton said the president is moonwalking this question, and I think he’s got it about right. It is hard to believe that if the president, when he was dealing with a finite universe of possible leakers, did not really put the heat on, that he couldn’t get an answer to his question.
ON THE CALIFORNIA RECALL ELECTION
Well, I was told last night, by somebody who’s been tracking very much what Ron said, that the race has gotten more interesting but that there still seems to be a firm majority in favor of the recall. This is a flawed process. A man who I was talking to said, “If Leon Panetta’s name had gone on the ballot as an alternative, he would be winning this race hands down. But because of this peculiar process there, people are in a dilemma because they don’t want to keep Governor Davis as their governor, and they don’t really want to see any of these alternatives become governor.” The overriding sentiment seems to be, “Let’s shake up Sacramento,” which is bad news for Governor Davis.
They may very well be right. And people take these elections seriously when they’re choosing a chief executive, whether it’s for the country or for the state. And the people that I talked to, when I was in California, have this concern about their state. It’s not a question for them of simple celebrity. It is a question of who can get the problems of California —begin to address those problems. So when you attack the credibility and the behavior pattern of the presumably leading candidate, you are going to have some effect on the voters.
I don’t think it has much effect on 2004. Bush is going to have to make the case himself to the California voters as to why they should support him when they did not in overwhelming numbers last time.
ON HIS APPEARANCE ON MEET THE PRESS 40 YEARS AGO
Tony Snow says everything is A-OK:
Last week, Fox News Sunday host Tony Snow had some "parting thoughts" about Rush Limbaugh. It was a defense of the now former sports commentator. These words
by Snow caught our attention:
... we also need to open our eyes. Here's the unmentionable secret: Racism isn't that big a deal any more. No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It's rapidly becoming an ugly memory.
It would be nice to believe that racism is becoming only a memory, but we're not there yet. And if history is any guide, it requires constant vigilance to keep it from re-emerging.
Friday, October 10, 2003
Where we stand:
There has been a lot of talk in the last 12 hours about Rush Limbaugh's felonious drug use (and his pressuring of an employee to obtain drugs). Scanning the web, we get the impression that conservatives like Sean Hannity are throwing down the gauntlet and demanding that, in this instance, liberals should adhere to their principles and support lenient treatment of Limbaugh. That probably means therapy/rehab instead of prison time. Our response is that we don't believe it's appropriate to extend compassion in this instance - or any other "instance". That's selective and only addresses the conservative-caught-with-his-pants-down du jour. Instance-by-instance leniency is the flip side of laws that are used to harass individuals or groups.
Our position is:
- We believe in equal treatment under the law.
- We support a change in drug legislation - to reduce or eliminate penalties and, where appropriate, to treat use as a medical problem.
That's it. Conservatives can agree with us or not on those two items, but beyond that we will not engage in a discussion about our liberal principles as they might apply to Limbaugh.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Mr. Bad Numbers:
Rush Limbaugh is flogging the ESPN-fired-me story - probably to take attention away from a very serious charge of illegaly purchasing drugs - and on his website's
main page links to a National Review essay
defending him on the "overrated black quarterbacks' charge.
But who is the author of the essay? None other than John R. Lott Jr., the guy who has a sorry record when it comes to dealing with statistics. A number
of critical observations of Lott have been made by Calpundit (here
), and there are about 1,500 entries
when you ask Google for links to: "John Lott" unethical
Yup, that's where conservatives go when they need statistical support - to John "There was a problem setting the date on my computer" Lott.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Wisdom from the west coast:
The California recall is just the latest in a lengthening string of naked power grabs that reveal the cankered soul at the top of the Republican party these days. Even leaving aside Florida 2000, we've seen unprecedented mid-decade redistrictings in both Colorado and Texas; campaigns that compare Democrats directly to Osama bin Laden; an indecent and truly morally bereft performance following Paul Wellstone's death; the end of the traditional blue slip rule for judicial nominees in the Senate — because control of both houses of Congress and the White House and most of the judiciary isn't enough for them; and the Valerie Plame affair, a scandal that, I think, is truly an "At long last sir, have you no decency?" moment.
But this has got to stop. We should be mad as hell over what's happening, and we do need to be willing to fight every bit as nasty as the Republican leadership is obviously willing to fight. It's pretty obvious they simply don't understand any other language.
Texas-style Republicanism is the engine of the radical right today, and George Bush is its leader. He should be our target, not Arnold Schwarzenegger. So stay mad, stay mad as hell, but stay smart too. November 2004 is the next battleground, and evicting George Bush from the White House is our goal. Don't forget it.
We completely agree.
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
On the California ballot:
From the Official Voter Information Guide:
Trek Thunder Kelly
1320 Pacific Avenue, Venice, CA, 90291
310.452.3264, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.trekkelly.com
Dear Voters, Please vote for me, thus breaking the Seventh Seal and incurring Armageddon. I will legalize drugs, gambling, and prostitution so they may be taxed and regulated, the funds derived would subsidize the deficit, education, and the environment. I believe in peaceful resolutions backed by a strong military; I don't care who you marry of have sex with.
Pretty poor poet:
Bush was recently in the news for having penned a poem for Laura. Here is how it was reported
in the New York Daily News
As her husband watched quietly, [Laura] recited it.
"Dear Laura," the poem began, "Roses are red, violets are blue, oh my lump in the bed, I miss you.
"The distance, my dear, has been such a barrier, next time you want an adventure, just land on a carrier."
But that was not the full poem. Here it is, courtesy of the Sunday Mirror
"Dear Laura, Roses are red, Violets are blue,
Oh my lump in the bed, How I've missed you.
Roses are redder, Bluer am I,
Seeing you kissed by that charming French guy.
The dogs and the cat, they missed you too,
Barney's still mad you dropped him, he ate your shoe.
The distance, my dear, has been such a barrier,
Next time you want an adventure, just land on a carrier."
And the article goes on to note:
... art critic Brian Sewell attacked it as "drivel". He said: "He should have something better to do, especially considering the problems in Iraq."He ate your shoe?
Reading this poem confirms our opinion that Bush is a dolt
Monday, October 06, 2003
This puts accountability right into the White House," a senior administration official said:
White House announces reorganization to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan (according to story
in the New York Times
). Here's a snapshot.
Feel better now?