At a fundraiser in the Hamptons this weekend, former President Bill Clinton unleashed harsh criticism on the ideologues on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. “The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is even more right wing and irrational than most of the commentators on Fox News,” said Clinton. “And completely predictable…it’s like Pavlov’s dogs.”
“A new Consumer Reports study identifies the ‘underinsured’ — accounting for 24% of the U.S. population — living with skeletal health insurance that barely covers their medical needs and leaves them unprepared to pay for major medical expenses.” Sixteen percent of Americans have “no health plan at all,” according to the study.
Last week, we noted right-wing pundit Glenn Beck’s meeting with President Bush in the White House. After the visit, Beck lauded Bush’s “incredible passion and resolve.” In a weekend trip to Idaho, Beck heaped even more praise on the president:
He’s not the guy you see on TV. He is the guy on the truck with the bull horn, and for years I have been wondering were is that guy. He is alive and well.
Last week, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) reiterated his call for bombing Muslim holy sites as a “deterrent” against terrorist strikes on the U.S. homeland. “If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina,” he said in Iowa.
“This shows that we mean business,” said Bay Buchanan, a senior Tancredo adviser. “There’s no more effective deterrent than that.”
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg responded, “That’s nuts, of course, not only contrary to every cherished American ideal, but counterproductive, as the prospect of the United States bombing Islamic holy cities would inspire, rather than deter, terrorists.” Fortunately, many leading conservatives have distanced themselves from Tancredo’s dangerous logic:
Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson: “I sincerely believe that bombing religious artifacts and religious holy sites would do nothing but unify one billion Muslims against us. It makes no sense.”
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee: “Historically, we’ve tried to avoid doing what the Nazis did, and that’s bombing every kind of possible target. We’ve had this attitude (that) we don’t do these things. There are some things that are off limits.”
Rep. Duncan Hunter: “I wouldn’t follow that.”
State Department Spokesman Tom Casey: Tancredo’s comments are “reprehensible” and “absolutely crazy.”
State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack: “The remarks are simply outrageous. … [I]t’s important for people abroad, who may not necessarily pay attention to the details and just hear a headline with that in it, that the official position of the United States Government is that those remarks are just outrageous.”
Tancredo’s comments have created international concern. Pakistani National Assembly Speaker Chaudhary Amir Hussain said the assembly will “unanimously adopt a resolution against this mischievous statement.”
For his part, Tancredo is refusing to back down. At last weekend’s debate, he responded, “Boy, when [the State Department] starts complaining about things I say, ‘I feel a lot better about the things I say,’ I’ll tell you right now.”
You can email Tancredo’s official blogger by clicking here. Let him know you want to see Tancredo retract his remarks.
UPDATE: The New York Times blog labels Tancredo’s ludicrous bombing plan a “tough stance.”
In a visit to the collapsed bridge in Minneapolis yesterday, President Bush vowed to aid in reconstruction efforts. But the AP reports that “[n]early two years ago, with parts of New Orleans still under water after Hurricane Katrina, Bush made similar declarations in the French Quarter, promising that the government would ‘stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives.’” New Orleans City Councilwoman Shelley Midura remarked: “I’m sorry, it takes more than a simple sentence.”
For even more coverage of the Daalder/Kagan op-ed see Mark Leon Goldberg, who points out that in the post-Cold War era the UN Security Coucil actually authorizes the deployment of troops fairly frequently. It’s refused to do so twice, and one of those times was Iraq, so by any reasonable criteria adopting a “listen to the UN” rule wouldn’t have been superior to what was actually done in the world. One might add that a far larger problem than inability to secure UN approval for worthwhile missions is the unwillingness of member states to contribute sufficient resources to authorized missions.
Last, one should note that the Daalder/Kagan alternative of using force when our “democratic partners in Europe and Asia” agree and, indeed, “even when some of our democratic friends disagree” arguably means that Iraq fits the test. We didn’t get much meaningful help from any country other than the UK, but the formal coalition was quite broad and included Albania, Australia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey among European or Asian democracies.
In other words, if you think the main lesson of Iraq is that we need to pretend we’ve learned important lessons while adhering to the same basic doctrines, then this is a great proposal.
Mike Crowley, seeking vacation-themed music videos in honor of the Iraqi parliament’s decision to defer political reconciliation and focus on taking a holiday instead, offers us Madonna’s “Holiday.” I’ll counter with Green Day’s “Holiday.”
It turns out that there doesn’t seem to be a video for Weezer’s “Holiday,” which is probably my favorite song with that title.
As the Bush administration’s “point man in Congress,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), has a “meeting every week with the president to plot strategy.”
In Chicago I read this Joe Klein column on the DLC that, by the dates, must have been submitted before The New York Times published Noam Scheiber’s op-ed on the DLC but been published a bit later. They both, however, say essentially the same thing: The organization has basically [UPDATE: the rest of this sentence originally went missing from the post for some reason] outlived its usefulness.
What’s more, several “centrist” or “New Democrat” types were around at YearlyKos and they all basically agreed with Klein and Scheiber (who are, themselves, really members of this same political tendency), which I found interesting. The proliferation of centrist groups in particular — Third Way, CNAS, Hamilton Project, etc. — plus the broader proliferation of groups doing independent policy analysis (Center for American Progress, New America, etc.) has basically created a situation where the DLC as such increasingly stands out for its leaders’ (and in particular Al From’s) idiosyncrasies rather than anything capable of mustering broader support.
In a radio interview with Diane Rehm this morning, right-wing columnist Robert Novak tried to assert his conservative credentials by distancing himself from the Bush White House. “I don’t support this administration,” he said.
“The president’s cut me off the list of conservative columnists that are invited there.” He added, “They consider me a lot of trouble.”
It would be unsurprising if the White House considered Novak “trouble,” given his unscrupulous journalistic ethics. But nothing in Novak’s previous comments has suggested anything but a close relationship with the White House. Just recently, he said he “never enjoyed such a good source inside the White House” as Karl Rove.
It appears Novak is simply sour over the fact he wasn’t given a 110-minute sit-down interview with President Bush like his counterpart at the New York Times, David Brooks.
Novak explained that his relationships with White Houses are like bad marriages. “It starts nice after the honeymoon and it just gets worse.”
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