Archive for June 1st, 2007

Wait… What?

Looks like David Brooks is all aboard the Fred train, although Newt is still his first love.

[T]he divide that engages Thompson most is not the ideological one between liberals and conservatives or between this or that brand of conservatism. It’s the divide between concentrated power and decentralized power.

Thompson’s core theme is that there is a disconnect between the American people and their rulers. He campaigns against concentrated Republican power almost as much as he does against concentrated Democratic power. Though a Republican, he’s able to launch a reasonably nonpartisan attack on the way government has worked over the last 19 years.

This suspicion of concentrated power in general and Washington in particular is not some election-year conversion for Thompson. It stretches back his whole life. He began his career, remember, investigating the Nixon White House. As Stephen Hayes reminded us in The Weekly Standard, as a young staffer on the Senate Watergate committee, Thompson asked the question that revealed the existence of the White House tapes.

He went home to Tennessee and became a protégé of Howard Baker, whose party apparatus has always had a folksy, country vs. capital ethos.

As a senator, Thompson investigated the Clinton campaign finance scandals (poorly), and established a reputation on one issue above all others: federalism. He was the only senator who voted against something called the Good Samaritan law because he thought it centralized power in the national government. He was that rarest of creatures — someone who not only preached federalism to get to Washington, but practiced it after he arrived.


He tells party strategists that there is a tide in the country against the way Washington does business, which he is best positioned to ride. He says the 2006 election was not primarily about Iraq, it was about corruption and pork-barrel spending.


Fred Thompson’s political skills are as good as anybody now running, but his challenge is going to be building a concrete agenda on his anti-Washington message. It will be translating his Goldwater risorgimento philosophy into policies on energy, health care reform, Islamic extremism and education. For if there is one thing the last 30 years have taught us, it is that campaigns that are strictly anti-Washington do not command 50 percent of the vote because they don’t address the decentralized global challenges that now face us.

Perhaps, as my friend Daniel Casse notes, what the G.O.P. needs is Newt Gingrich’s brain lodged in Fred Thompson’s temperament.

What I found most remarkable (yet unsurprising) about this glowing profile is the fact that Brooks somehow neglects to mention that this stalwart anti-corruption crusader who has been suspicious of Washington “his whole life” was a corporate lobbyist for 17 years.

I’m sure he was only lobbying Congress to vote their consciences and uphold the highest ethical standards.

9 comments June 1st, 2007 at 05:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

The Nanny State?

Fran Drescher for Congress!

The star of “The Nanny” wouldn’t mind playing the title role in “The Representative” someday – but right now she’s too busy telling women about the importance of early cancer detection.

Fran Drescher yesterday admitted she’s interested in running for elected office, though she won’t be announcing a 2008 congressional run tomorrow during a cancer survivors celebration in Lake Success.

“I do see myself getting involved in politics in that way down the road, becoming an elected official, but right now the big thing I’m climbing is the ‘Cancer Schmancer Movement,'” the Queens-born star told the Daily News.


But her appearance in front of a positive audience on Long Island fueled speculation she might also announce a run against Republican Rep. Peter King.

“If she’s going in 2008 and she’s going after King’s seat, you do it at an event in King’s district,” said Baruch College Prof. Doug Muzzio, a political expert. “You declare war on enemy turf.”

Drescher denied the possibility of such an announcement, even if she has thought about having a career in Washington down the line.

“If I had my druthers, I’d rather be a senator” than a representative, she said. “But that doesn’t mean that’s necessarily where I’d start.”

Run, Fran, Run!

What can I say, I’ve had a great big crush on Fran Drescher ever since Spinal Tap.

(h/t the good Howie)

7 comments June 1st, 2007 at 02:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Politics

High Noonan

Peggy Noonan has the latest installment of the Immigration Will Tear The GOP Apart saga:

What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration. They are not resisting, fighting and thereby setting down a historical marker–“At this point the break became final.” That’s not what’s happening. What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.

Oh noes! Whatever will America do without the mature, competent leadership of the Republican Party?

The White House doesn’t need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don’t even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out their disdain. Leading Democrats often think their base is slightly mad but at least their heart is in the right place. This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place.

Impossible. The Bush White House isn’t even a stopped clock that’s right twice a day; it’s a broken clock that actively avoids the correct time.

For almost three years, arguably longer, conservative Bush supporters have felt like sufferers of battered wife syndrome. You don’t like endless gushing spending, the kind that assumes a high and unstoppable affluence will always exist, and the tax receipts will always flow in? Too bad! You don’t like expanding governmental authority and power? Too bad. You think the war was wrong or is wrong? Too bad.

Um, which conservatives is Noonan talking about here? The vast and vocal majority seems pretty enthusiastic about all of that – overspending, big government, and endless war are the only way to defeat THE SCARY TERRORISTS OMG!!!1!

The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic–they “don’t want to do what’s right for America.”

This may be the greatest sentence ever written. How’s it feel, kids? Kinda sucks, don’t it.

Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives? It is odd, but it is of a piece with, or a variation on, the “Too bad” governing style. And it is one that has, day by day for at least the past three years, been tearing apart the conservative movement.

Yes, we could tell from all the leaders of the conservative movement bitterly criticizing Dubya. Leaders like… umm… uhh… I’ll get back to you.

I suspect the White House and its allies have turned to name calling because they’re defensive, and they’re defensive because they know they have produced a big and indecipherable mess of a bill… The White House and its supporters seem to be marshalling not facts but only sentiments, and self-aggrandizing ones at that. They make a call to emotions–this is, always and on every issue, the administration’s default position–but not, I think, to seriously influence the debate.

The Bushies namecalling and appealing to emotion to defend a disastrous mess? Ridiculous! Go stand in the corner, next to Al Gore.

If they’d really wanted to help, as opposed to braying about their own wonderfulness, they would have created not one big bill but a series of smaller bills, each of which would do one big clear thing, the first being to close the border. Once that was done–actually and believably done–the country could relax in the knowledge that the situation was finally not day by day getting worse. They could feel some confidence. And in that confidence real progress could begin.

There you go. In order to enact a fair and compassionate immigration policy, we must first start with the good parts of the immigration bill, like building a giant 800-foot wall, and then we can see about the icky parts, like giving immigrants a chance at citizenship… maybe, if we get around to it.

The beginning of my own sense of separation from the Bush administration came in January 2005, when the president declared that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation. This was at once so utopian and so aggressive that it shocked me. For others the beginning of distance might have been Katrina and the incompetence it revealed, or the depth of the mishandling and misjudgments of Iraq.

Clearly, you have to get up pretty early in the evening to put one over on the conservatives.

What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom–a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don’t need hacks.

Wow, and it only took you four years to figure that out! (Conveniently just after the election, I might add.) That makes you one of the smart ones!

[Bush] was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.

Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it’s time. It’s more than time.

Courage? Serious thinking? Letting go? Y’all are FUCKED. I know you all think that courage and serious thinking are your core competencies, but reality and history says otherwise. What will really happen is that you’ll just crank up the war and terrorism and taxes and scary gay marriage and whatever other boogeymen you can conjure up to convince the base that it will be The End Of America if those weak godless homofascist Democrats win.

One year now, Noonan will have no memory of ever writing this column, and will be breathlessly salivating over the manliness of Rudy/John/Fred/Newt’s codpiece. Short attention spans are the Republicans’ most powerful weapon.

10 comments June 1st, 2007 at 11:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Immigration,Media,Politics,Republicans

Bye Bye, Bartlett

White House Counselor Dan Bartlett resigns.

Given recent history (Ralston, Sampson, Goodling, McNulty, Griffin, etc.), I have to wonder if there’s more to the story. Maybe Waxman should just give him immunity and see if has anything interesting to say.

Hey, the Republicans would have done it, so that makes it okay, right?

1 comment June 1st, 2007 at 10:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This week’s quote is from the Tom Selleck-Paulina Porizkova comedy, Her Alibi:

God wants to know where the toilet is.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s cats…

Uh-oh, the shadowy and mysterious Codename B. has tasted human flesh…

4 comments June 1st, 2007 at 07:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

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