January 28, 2008
Trust But Take A Reality Check
Back in the late ‘80s, during his negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev, President Reagan used to repeat the Russian proverb: “doveryai, no proveryai"--“trust but verify.” The--updated--theme for tonight might well be “trust but take a reality check.” Trusting the people (and empowering them through government action) is a great theme but, as I pointed out earlier, it is at odds with the actual record of the Bush administration.
Tonight's Theme: "trust The People"
“In all we do, we must trust in the ability of free people to make wise decisions, and empower them to improve their lives and their futures.” This is a neat summation of what could be a powerful political philosophy for the 21st century – an approach that marries the empowerment of individuals with more decision making power at home and the spreading of democracy around the world. [In full disclosure: it was the subject of a book I wrote eight years ago called “The Next Deal.”] It’s no accident that Bush is turning to this theme.
Laundry List? Spin Cycle?
The writing of a State of the Union – SOTU in the internal White House parlance – is a central organizing tool of an Administration. At their worst, after all the departments and agencies and sleeve-tuggers in Washington have had their say, State of the Union addresses become the cliched laundry lists you hear so much about. At their best, they are thematic addresses that use specific policy initiatives to illustrate the direction in which the president will lead. The question is which direction Bush will take. --Andrei Cherny
Tonight, special guest Andrei Cherny will be live-blogging President Bush's last State of the Union address. In addition to being the author of two books on US politics, Cherny is a former senior speechwriter and advisor to Vice President Al Gore--the youngest White House speechwriter in American history. He is currently the editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Be sure to check out him out on the Plank during and after the president's speech tonight. --The Editors
John McCain's recent comments on Supreme Court appointments seemed worth a blockquote: McCain mentioned that Sam Brownback would play an advisory role in helping decide who he should nominate for the Supreme Court. As models of who he would select, John McCain pointed to Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia. The idea that McCain would let Sam Brownback do the honors of picking John Paul Stevens's replacement is terrifying, but not unexpected.
The Clintons And The Race Card
No one can deny that the Clintons play the race card. But it wasn't until the South Carolina primary that many people realized that they play it both ways. I have to admit that I myself only dimly recalled the smarmy stuff that Christopher Hitchens documented in Slate today. I also have to admit that I am loathe to be indebted to Hitchens for anything. But it can't be helped. He has the cynicism and self-righteousness of the couple down cold. Refresh your memory, think about the ugly analogy to Jesse Jackson, and shudder...Do we really want these two in the White House?
What Would Janet Reno Do?
Lest you think Obama's getting all the big endorsements today, it should be noted for the record that Janet Reno is backing Hillary. This is actually moderately surprising, given Reno's conflicted relationship with the Clintons--especially Hillary.
January 27, 2008
Overturning The Clintons
The Clintons are in a rage, and a couple enraged against the world is usually taking cover from the rage they feel towards each other.But, since this is a couple which doesn't even have the comfort of pillow talk, its internal aggressions are projected outwards to the people they have defined as enemies.Still, imagine Hillary having to come to terms with the fact that her husband -- the one adored by the official liberals -- has now angered them by his racialist petulance towards their upstart opponents and by the sebaceous indulgence of his own righteous self.
Pelosi Was Right
Carl Hulse has a nice piece in today's New York Times on the reaction among Democrats to Nancy Pelosi's decision to cut a deal with House Republicans on a stimulus package. The basic question is whether Pelosi gave away too much in agreeing to leave food stamps and extended unemployment benefits out of the bill, as Republicans demanded in exchange for including tax rebates to people who make too little to pay income tax. Charlie Rangel, for one, wasn't sold on the bargain: The final agreement showed that Ms.
Russia Embraces Possible Murderer!
The Los Angeles Times has a great piece today on Andrei Lugovoy, the main suspect in the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. Britain wants to extradite Lugovoy, but now he has become a hero and member of parliament(!) in Russia.