Nixon, Nixon, Nixon

More Richard Nixon tapes were released yesterday, and, as usual, there are some goodies: In the document, written in December 1970 to H. R. Haldeman, a top aide, Nixon expresses both anger and pain that his aides have not been able to establish an image of him as a warm and caring person.


By Sanford Levinson I have argued against attempts to impeach President Bush, not least because I seriously doubt there is evidence that he has committed a "high crime" or "misdemeanor," as against displaying catastrophic misjudgment and incompetence that, alas, is not, according to most well-trained lawyers, impeachable. But assume that Harriet Miers, whose testimony Bush is desperately trying to prevent, were to testify that she indeed discussed the US attorneys with Bush and that he indicated that he had decided to sell the appointments for large contributions.


Hillary Gets It

I haven't said this before. But Hillary Clinton has it absolutely right: "There are not many good options" for U.S. policy on Palestine. Yes, "the security of Israel is best served by helping to create a Palestinian Authority that can provide tangible benefits for its people, in contrast to the violence and isolation offered by Hamas." The real question, however, is whether the P.A.


I don't know how long these hearings will be going on. But they are mighty interesting, and they are on right now. This hearing, called by Representative John Conjers, Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, may be viewed on C-Span 3 or via the link to the committee web cast: Click on "webcast." Oh, yes, what are the hearings about? It is called a hearing on "The Use and Misuse of Presidential Clemency Power for Executive Branch Officials." The big star, predictable though he may be, is former ambassador Joseph Wilson. If you missed it, sorry.

Is the administration caving everywhere? Its attitude to Iraq is puzzling. As Republican senator after Republican senator defects, the president still puts up a bold front. But, as European allies move ever closer to the U.S. position on Iran, the administration seems inclined to soften its pressure on Tehran. How does one explain this? Eli Lake takes a crack in this morning's Sun.

Panic Mode

John McCain has dumped his campaign manager Terry Nelson and, even more dramatically, his longtime advisor John Weaver. Meanwhile McCain is speaking on the Senate floor right now about his latest visit to Iraq. So far it sounds like anyone hoping for McCain to join the stampede to the exits will be disappointed: "The progress our military has made should encourage us. It's also clear that the overall strategy that Gen Petraeus has put into place... is the correct one.... No lasting political settlement can come out of a US withdrawal." More of the same, in other words. --Michael Crowley

The Iraq Tug-of-war

Everybody's swooning over new Republican war defectors Dick Lugar, Pete Domenici, and George Voinovich -- "It's as if the dike has burst," moderate Sen. Susan Collins gushed -- taking their statements of frustration as a sign the Senate could finally pass tough legislation to end the war. It's harder than that, though: Think of the politics on this as a simple elementary-school-field-day-style tug-of-war, where, when one side gives, the other rushes back too, so they don't end up any nearer to each other after all.


Whither Mccain?

Today's NYTimes front-pager on the Bush administration's growing acquiescence to reality in Iraq has an interesting tidbit after the jump. As much as LugarDomeniciVoinovich have forced the White House's hand on the issue of withdrawal "post-surge redeployment," it's McCain that the Bushies are most nervous about: "Everyone's particularly worried about what happens when McCain gets back from Iraq," one official said, a reference to the latest trip to Baghdad by Senator John McCain, who has been a stalwart supporter of the "surge" strategy. Mr.


Blame The Military

Via Ramesh Ponnuru, Robert Novak has an interesting report on a recent meeting between Stephen Hadley and "a half-dozen senior Republican senators:" Hadley called his expedition a "scouting trip," leading one senator to ask what he was seeking. It was not advice on how to escape from Iraq. Instead, Hadley appeared interested in how previous supporters had drifted from Bush's course. In the process, he planted seeds of concern. Some senators were left with the impression that the White House still does not recognize the scope of the Iraq dilemma.


Russell Kirk, though once revered on the right as a crucial link in the synthesis that made twentieth-century conservatism a viable intellectual force, was, in retrospect, a shallow thinker who said little that was original and twisted himself into self-tied knots to avoid confronting the contradictions in his worldview. That, in the essence, was the argument of my TNR review ("Contempt," July 2). Now Kirk's defenders have rushed to set the record straight.