September 10, 2008
The Empiricist Strikes Back
In the last few weeks, a number of people on the left have expressed disappointment with Barack Obama. Obama has said that the death penalty may be appropriate for child rape. He has applauded the Supreme Court's recognition of an individual right to own guns. He has voted for wiretapping reform that includes retroactive immunity for telephone companies.
IN LATE OCTOBER 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.
2,126 'Buts,' and 55 'Reagans'
With the arrival on the scene of a strange Alaskan who seems willing to say anything, I find myself looking in strange places for solace. News sites don't help, nor do blogs. They offer the reverse of being haunted by a relationship you once had: being haunted by a future relationship you don't want to have. I'm being forced to get to know someone whom I less and less enjoy knowing. My latest attempt to escape the northern chill was spent surfing a site called Speech Wars, created by Ben Reis in Jerusalem.
Here's how President Bush chose Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, according to Woodward. The atmospherics are exceedingly murky: Bush says he first considered Gates because "a friend he had gone to college with, whom he declined to identify, had first made the suggestion." Bush is adamant on the fact that he didn't consult George H.W. Bush about Gates.
September 09, 2008
The thought is on just about everybody's mind. But it is on almost no one's lips. It is a fearsome thought--and, recklessly deployed, could be hurtful. Perhaps given the blow to our country's security, it is inevitable that it will be reflected in various policing initiatives--some just, some not.
Did The White House Play Woodward?
Derek Chollet is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and coauthor of America Between the Wars. As Bob Woodward's new book The War Within rolls out this week, many Democrats are giddy at the skewering Bush is taking. According to the numerous press accounts of the book and the lengthy excerpts running this week in the Washington Post, Woodward portrays Bush at best as out of touch and at worst as duplicitous about the collapse of his Iraq strategy in 2006.
Ceding The Constitution
Amidst the left's Great McCain Bounce Panic come some genuinely distressing polling numbers, courtesy of Rasmussen via Orin Kerr: While 82% of voters who support McCain believe [Supreme Court] justices should rule on what is in the Constitution, just 29% of Barack Obama’s supporters agree.
September 08, 2008
The Invisible Woman
WASHINGTON--John McCain's campaign acknowledged this weekend that Sarah Palin is unprepared to be vice president or president of the United States. Of course, McCain's people said no such thing. But their actions told you all you needed to know. McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden all subjected themselves to tough questioning on the regular Sunday news programs. Palin was the only no-show. And it's not just the Sunday interviews. She has not opened herself to any serious questioning since McCain picked her to be next in line for the presidency.
A Partner and an Adversary
Impose sanctions or not? Europe is clearly hesitating, seemingly frightened by its own potential daring. And, as always, when the troubling spirit of appeasement and fear is in the air, Europe is looking for any plausible reason to do nothing at all. We keep hearing, for example, that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is an unpredictable, even irresponsible and dangerous character. Who's being made fun of here?
The first thing you notice out in the early pages of Bob Woodward's The War Within are the showy indictments of President Bush, who leans on poor General George Casey, Jr. like a fraternity pledge-master disappointed with his charge. Casey, who's something of an academic (he studied IR at Georgetown and the University of Denver, and he'd never been in combat) accuses Bush of focusing on body counts, an attitude that Casey identifies with the "Kill the bastards!