Digby offers up an interesting slice of history wherein David Broder acknowledges that he played a large role in assisting Richard Nixon’s successful effort to destroy Senator Ed Muskie’s political career, but doesn’t seem to feel especially sorry about it or resolve to do anything differently in the future. It’s typical of the common code within the press corps which isn’t indifferent to the fact that it does its job in a way that wreaks horrible damage on the country, but actually wears indifference to the consequences of their actions as a badge of honor.
Andrew says a hypothetical scandal in which Bill Clinton is revealed to have been conducting a post-presidential affair would be very bad for Hillary Clinton:
I may not care about the personal details of a president’s marriage, but, given the Clintons’ history, purple state Americans may not be so sure. The story could remind them of the psychodramas of the 1990s, dramas that impeded a president’s ability to govern. It could remind them of how hollowed out Hillary Clinton’s psyche has had to become – for enabling her husband’s foibles as the price for her own political advancement.
Meh. I’m pretty sure most people would trade the “psychodramas of the 1990s” over the present situation. Meanwhile, it’s just not the case that most people see Hillary’s relationship with Bill in this light. The reality of the situation is that her highest approval ratings ever all come from 1998 and 1999; people view her and her handling of the situation sympathetically. After all, I don’t actually think it’s particularly unusual for a married couple’s relationship to be strained by infidelity and for them to stay together nonetheless.
On Monday night at the 35th International Emmy Awards, Robert DeNiro will present Al Gore with the Founders Award. The honor is not only “in recognition of his role in raising the alarm about global warming, but also for his efforts in launching the interactive Current TV.” Earlier this year, Gore also won an Emmy award for the global television network, which allows viewers to “create and influence what airs on TV.”
A strange but funny ad from Mike Huckabee:
Learn more about Chuck Norris Facts.
Not only does today’s New York Times contain an op-ed about how Reagan was no racist (he just supported white supremacist policies) and an op-ed about how we should invade Pakistan, but it also features Tom Friedman, who I’d been finding pretty agreeable of late, writing things like:
And that brings me back to the Obama-Cheney ticket: When it comes to how best to deal with Iran, each has half a policy — but if you actually put them together, they’d add up to an ideal U.S. strategy for Iran. Dare I say, they complete each other.
Arthur Schlesinger liked to defend his decision during the 1960 campaign to defect from the Adlai Stevenson camp to the John F. Kennedy camp in terms of the idea that Stevenson had a discomfort with the idea of power that, while arguably admirable in some respects, was fundamentally inconsistent with the realities of political leadership. I’ve seen analogies to this situation applied to the Clinton-Obama race several times. Available on the internet is this post from George Packer which lays the analogy out in some detail, and this interview with Sean Wilentz in which he refers to it more elliptically but explicitly draws the conclusion that Clinton is like Kennedy and Obama is like Stevenson and that this is the reason to support Clinton.
This doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. For one thing, Schlesinger’s morality play in which Stevenson is an honorable man but maybe too honorable to beat the GOP in ’52 and ’56 whereas the slightly seemier Kennedy gets the job done in ’60 is a pretty weird interpretation of the politics of the 1950s. In 1952, the Democrats had been in the White House for 20 years, Harry Truman’s approval ratings were in the low twenties, and the Republican nominee was one of the most respected and popular men in the world. What’s more, instead of taking advantage of Truman’s unpopularity and his personal popularity to try to revive American conservatism, Ike just ditched all of the GOP’s less popular positions and ran, won, and governed as a moderate. Under the circumstances, Stevenson was doomed.
Meanwhile, the reality of the Kennedy Administration — as opposed to the Myth of Camelot — is precisely what makes people leery of Clinton. A 50%+1 win followed by a domestic agenda that goes nowhere in congress and a drift toward foreign policy disaster driven in part by a unshakeable fear of looking soft on defense.
I read in the Post that “About 61 percent of the [homicide] cases [in DC] have resulted in an arrest this year.” That made me realize that I have no idea whether that’s a high number or a low one. So on to Google. Here I learn that in New York City 40.2 percent of murders go unsolved. In 2002, “the clearance rate for murder was 64.0 percent.” So DC doesn’t seem to be far out of the typical range — if you kill someone, you’ve got a bit less than a forty percent chance of getting away with it.
Greg Sargent is obviously confused. “Tough” questioning isn’t when you examine a public figure’s claims for factual accuracy, it’s when you examine them for consistency. So if Rudy Giuliani says Bernard Kerik was a good choice to lead the NYPD, it’d be “tough” to toss up on the screen some years-old statement in which Rudy said something that was different. Asking whether or not the things he’s saying are true isn’t what toughness is about.
Last week, House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced that he will hold a hearing after Thanksgiving recess to investigate discrepancies between statements on Blackwater by State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard and those of his brother. Howard Krongard’s lawyer has now written to Waxman and asked him to cancel the hearing. “There is no legitimate purpose to be gained by publicly pitting two brothers against each other,” Barbara Van Gelder wrote.
In his debut column in Newsweek today, former White House adviser Karl Rove instructs the GOP presidential candidates on how to beat Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), whom he describes as “hard and brittle.” He encourages them to distances themselves from the “low approval rates of the Republican president” (although he conveniently fails to mention President Bush by name):
Every presidential election is about change and the future, not the past. So show them who you are in a way that gives the American people hope, optimism and insight. That’s the best antidote to the low approval rates of the Republican president. [...]
Kos, on the other hand, encourages the Democratic candidates to continue reminding voters that “that the Republican platform and Bush’s record are one and the same”:
When Bush chose a head for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, did he select a competent administrator experienced in disaster management? No, he appointed Mike Brown, an attorney previously fired as the “judges and stewards commissioner” of the International Arabian Horse Association for gross mismanagement. He was an incompetent horse lawyer, yet Bush deemed him capable of running the nation’s top disaster relief agency. Reagan, who once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’,” might have approved the choice, but the abandoned residents of the Gulf Coast would undoubtedly beg to differ.