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Monthly Archives: November 2008


It’s not all cities on a hill with the American conservative movement. There is more McCarthyism than Reaganism in the latest strain. Andrew Sullivan observes:

The American conservative era owes just as much to Goldwater’s
libertarianism and Reagan’s pragmatic freedom agenda. It’s also bundled
up with Buckley’s erudition, Gingrich’s populism, and the first Bush’s
realism and prudence. But Gabler is surely onto something in seeing the
McCarthyite strain in American conservatism being more tenacious and
transmittable, because human resentment is more common and politically
potent than agreement about limited government. The resentment theme
also tends to get stronger when there is too little raw political
talent around: when you have the limited grasp of the world of W and
Palin, a resort to McCarthyism is often helpful, even necessary.



Apparently, atheists have consciences, too. The well-known, godless pundit Christopher Hitchens has come out for the unborn:

Hitchens, known for his defiant and politically incorrect positions, takes an uncharacteristic middle path on abortion. When asked whether he is “pro-life,” he answers in the affirmative. He has repeatedly defended the use of the term “unborn child” against those on the left who say that an aborted fetus is nothing more than a growth, an appendix, a polyp. ” ‘Unborn child’ seems to me to be a real concept. It’s not a growth or an appendix,” he says. “You can’t say the rights question doesn’t come up.” At the same time, he adds, “I don’t think a woman should be forced to choose, or even can be.” Hitchens does not recommend the overturning of Roe v. Wade. What he wants is for both moral callousness and religion to be excised from the abortion debate and for science to come up with solutions to unwanted pregnancies, like the abortifacient mifepristone (RU-486), “that will make abortion more like a contraceptive procedure than a surgical one. That’s the Hitchens plank, and I think it’s a defensible one.”


Pentagon officials, usually wary of Democratic administrations, are voicing a sense of relief. They are happy to have a new commander-in-chief who is both willing to lead and to listen:

“Open and serious debate versus ideological certitude will be a great relief to the military leaders,” said retired Maj. Gen. William L. Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations. Senior officers are aware that few in their ranks voiced misgivings over the Iraq war, but they counter that they were not encouraged to do so by the Bush White House or the Pentagon under Donald H. Rumsfeld.

“The joke was that when you leave a meeting, everybody is supposed to drink the Kool-Aid,” Nash said. “In the Bush administration, you had to drink the Kool-Aid before you got to go to the meeting.”


It’s one of those “insult to injury” twofers. After being passed over for Secretary of State, Bill Richardson was offered a different job––only once it had been turned down by Obama’s first choice. After all, we have a long tradition of letting Mexicans do the jobs that the rest of us don’t want to fool with. Ruben Navarrette writes:

After the snub, Richardson turned the other cheek and got slapped again. He is reportedly about to be offered, as a parting gift, a job — secretary of commerce — that someone else turned down. That someone else was Penny Pritzker, the president-elect’s chief fundraiser who reportedly was Obama’s choice for the post. A billionaire heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, Pritzker withdrew her name from consideration.

What a mess. Supporters of both Obama and Richardson, along with a willing media, are spinning like mad and trying to clean it up. They’re desperate to convince anyone who will listen that no one was slighted and that everything worked out as planned. It’s all rainbows and puppy dogs.

Of course, Bill Clinton is probably happy to see Richardson being rewarded for his unswerving loyalty.


The perception that Obama’s money came mostly from small individual donations is proving more myth than reality. The Los Angeles Times explains:

Through the Democratic National Convention, the Institute estimates, Obama received $119 million from genuine small donors, an impressive sum, to be sure.

But not as impressive as the $210 million he’d raised by then from bundlers and large donors.

Obama 2008

It’s like the moment you realize that professional wrestling is fake. Conservative Obama-haters are discovering that the President Elect isn’t the starry-eyed, airy-fairy liberal they had been campaigning against for the last two years. Amazingly, his appointments appear as clear-headed, wise and moderate as the young man’s  cumcumber-cool demeanor. Huh! Wonder of wonders! The majority of the electorate may have gotten this one right. Max Boot of Commentary Magazine publishes his right-wing epiphany:

Combined with the moderation of the economic team that Obama has just named, I would say his administration already far exceeds expectations, and he hasn’t even taken office yet.


Thank goodness! Someone has finally wired acid-tongued Ann Coulter’s mouth shut. Now if we can just break her typewriter.

Looking for something to be thankful for?  This one is a stretch.


Obama is keeping Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense. There you go, Senator McCain. I think Barack is  finally admitting that the surge is working.



While pundits speculate about presidential pardons, the Vatican has issued one of their own. Beatle John Lennon has been absolved for his 1966 Jesus remark. After all, Jesus is bigger than the Beatles these days.


Yet, so right.


It’s official: the President-elect has moved from the elite column into the elitest column. He and Michelle have selected a private school for their daughters to attend. An excellent choice, I’m sure. But if you are going to oppose a school voucher program for the less privileged, I say you stick your little darlings into a DC public school.


John Heillemann discusses the Hillary choice:

But choosing Hillary demonstrates more than merely get-her-done, mission-driven hardheadedness. It demonstrates that Obama has finally learned the political power of magnanimity—or least the perception thereof. It demonstrates strength, whereas selecting her as his running mate would have displayed the opposite (the stories would all have been about how he did it because he had no choice). And it demonstrates a level of self-confidence remarkable even in someone who just won the presidency.