23 July 2009

A few final links

I couldn't help but post the following links in-between cramming sessions:

Terming the president's health-care push a "suicide march," this column shows why, at his best, there is none better than David Brooks.

The Atlantic columnist Clive Crook, a self-avowed liberal, agrees with Brooks.

... and the immeasurable Charles Krauthammer piles on.

This fascinating write-up by Time Magazine pieces together the final weeks of the Bush-Cheney relationship, and more specifically, the president's refusal to pardon Scooter Libby.

Scott Rasmussen's gang came up with some interesting 2012 numbers.

And finally, back to Brooks: It's no secret that one of the heroes of this site is Sen. John McCain. Ergo, I've had this retro Brooks piece from the heat of the campaign bookmarked for about 10 months, and re-read it from time to time as a reminder of what might have been if my guy had actually become president. If you're a partisan on either side, chances are you are no great fan of the Senior Senator. But the column is a great read.

18 July 2009

Required reading: Commish's bar exam edition

I thoroughly enjoyed the riled-up response to our comments about Gov. Palin. I sincerely hope our conservative readers enjoyed being offended as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The culmination of three miserable years of law school will take place in less than two weeks, as I will sit for the Missouri Bar Exam on July 28 and 29. In the meantime, here's some reading to tide you over:

Sen. Judd Gregg -- who should have serious gravitas in everyone's book as President Obama's choice for Commerce Secretary -- hits the Democrats' horrendous health care bill.

The Wall Street Journal has more.

And for our comments on Harry and Nancy's socialist utopia from earlier in the year, click here.

A centrist House Democrat says that moderates have enough votes to block Pelosi's bill in committee. Let's hope so.

On that note, how's that consensus-building going, Mr. President?

Our pal John Burke at The Purple Center examines the left's attack on moderate Democrats.

The left-leaning Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institute provided some excellent commentary on the Democrats' desire to tax the rich into oblivion. (Hat tip: Donald Luskin)

Let me offer polite applause for the president's stand against more wasteful defense spending. Our thoughts on the Department of Defense's Cold War mindset can be found here.

Our friend (and fellow lawyer) Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Success has a few thoughts worth checking out regarding Judge Sotomayor. There will be more to come from our end in early August.

Byron Dorgan lays down the law!

Has there ever been a better induction speech than this one?

Meghan McCain rips Joe the Plumber. For our slightly more sophisticated thoughts on the dumbing down of the GOP, click here.

A reader's comments to Andrew Sullivan are spot-on regarding Sarah Palin.

Three days after we blasted the Alaska governor in this space (click here if you just can't get enough), Peggy Noonan offered similar thoughts that were brilliant. Her column couldn't capture my sentiments any more perfectly.

Finally, if you haven't gotten a chance to check it out yet, head over to Donklephant. I received an offer to contribute some of our material over there awhile back, and plan to take editor Justin Gardner up on it when I actually figure out HTML. Among others, our pal the Pajama Pundit is a regular contributor, so it's worth adding to your daily read.

10 July 2009

Palin, part 2

I've learned that the quickest way to get a rise out of the far right is to criticize either Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh.

This is follow-up post based on the comments received in response to our July 8 roasting of the soon-to-be-former Alaska governor, as well as, generally, the conservative blogosphere's willingness to follow Gov. Palin over a cliff.

As usual, many of the angrier comments on this site -- and many recent ones are no exception -- don't meet us on the higher intellectual plane we desire, and instead resort to name-calling and avoiding the actual substance of our points.

I challenge anyone to watch the Couric interview on YouTube. It's embarrassing. It's some of the most uncomfortable television I've ever seen. If, after watching Palin stammer through a response to what should have been a softball question, anyone still thinks this woman is intellectually fit to hold the office she sought, you're out of your mind.

Yes, I'm sure Couric was rooting for Palin to fail and look dumb. So what? She asked a completely legitimate question, designed to test the interviewee's knowledge, and the interviewee failed completely. I don't understand how anyone can watch the Couric interview and say with a straight face that Palin's performance was the press' fault. 

Get used to it. The liberal bias of the elite media is a fact of life if you're a Republican with national political aspirations. From Goldwater to Nixon to Reagan to Bush and to McCain, it's wrong, but that's simply how it is. 

Additionally, for a discussion of the Bush Doctrine post-9/11, I invite readers to click here, here or here.

"Fanaticism" is defined as an extreme, uncritical enthusiasm or zeal. Winston Churchill once said that a fanatic is someone who refuses to change his mind, but won't change the subject. So it goes with Palin's millions of admirers. In this way, such Republicans engage in the exact same behavior as starry-eyed Obamatrons, who tout the president's "change" and "hope" no matter how decidedly partisan and hypocritical their hero might be.

For whatever reason, no matter what comes out of Sarah Palin's mouth, nor how ignorant she proves herself to be, those legions of far-right devotees will remain behind her.


08 July 2009

Palin's gone? You betcha!

A skimming of our archives will show that I in fact supported the nomination of Gov. Palin as Sen. McCain's running mate from a political perspective. Since then, I've readily admitted that I was probably wrong. Sen. McCain's selection of her -- and my subsequent, almost immediate support -- evince poor judgment on both our parts.

I have, in the months following the election as I've observed Palin, made a few comments in this corner of the blogosphere that have been highly critical of Palin and those people who afford her such idiotic devotion.

Here is one final take on the governor in the wake of her announcement that she is resigning the governorship of Alaska.

If Sarah Palin really considers herself a serious contender for national office, she would have remained in the governorship and made a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010. That much is clear. I understand her resignation if she has personal or family issues to which she must attend -- and let me say that if such is her reason for resigning, I applaud her -- but she will not win the Republican nomination in 2012 with just two years of governorship experience under her belt. There's no way.

Another, more crucial point: I do not count myself among those people who believe she has been mistreated by the national press. If you step onto the national stage, you had better know what you're getting into. Yes, left-wing moonbats like Maureen Dowd, Daily Kos devotees or certain columnists at Huffington Post have criticized Palin and particularly her family in ways that have stepped over the line. To attack the woman's family and make it the focus of media coverage, instead of the candidate, is a cardinal sin and an inexcusable derogation of one's duty as a member of the media.

But Palin and her supporters have used the unfair treatment from the far left as an excuse for her unfathomably poor performance with the rest of the media.

Do not confuse tough questioning with abject hatred.

There were two turning points for me. The first was the Charlie Gibson interview where Palin had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was. This, of course, to those of us who had not been living in Alaska, was President Bush's declaration that the United States would preemptively strike any country that it believed was a threat to America's national security, or even that provided safe harbor to terrorists. In the wake of the last half-decade's events in Iraq, I was genuinely curious as to whether Palin subscribed to that theory. Whether Gibson was actually trying to trick her is irrelevant -- journalists are more than entitled to test an interviewee's knowledge, especially when she is a candidate for the vice-presidency of the United States! The Bush Doctrine has already made its way into the history books. It's fair game.

The second turning point was during the Katie Couric interview, when lobbed a softball by the CBS host. During a certain line of questioning, Couric appeared to toss her an easy one, and simply asked what magazines or newspapers she read to stay informed on the world's events. I thought this was a very good question, especially given Palin's remoteness from the Beltway up in Alaska. Every serious candidate for national office reads, right?

My response would have included, first of course, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as well as The Economist, U.S. News & World Report, and occasionally, Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. I also would have noted that I flip between all three cable news networks, favoring none, but my favorite cable news show is Hardball with Chris Matthews. My favorite political analysts are Matthews, Joe Scarborough and Chuck Todd at MSNBC, David Gergen and Fareed Zakaria at CNN, Brit Hume and Dick Morris at FOX News, and Michael Barone. My favorite print columnists are George Will and David Brooks.

And, let's be clear, during that time, I was a third-year law student.

Palin's response?

"Well ... all of them."


Palin's stammering response indicated to me that she didn't give a crap about reading the news or becoming informed on national or world events. If she took the time to learn and actually pick up a newspaper or magazine, she would have been excited to reveal her sources to Couric. I'm sorry. There is no excuse for not having one single answer to a question like that.

I would have loved -- LOVED -- to have seen Palin sit down for an interview with Tim Russert. There is no doubt she would have stumbled and stammered and peppered her answers with "tax cuts," and thereafter spoken of Russert's desire to take her down in flames.

Like many others, I do believe that the national press on the whole harbors a liberal bias. If you don't agree with this sentiment, as I've noted before, it's probably time to flip off "Countdown" and put down your copy of The Nation. However, virtually every other Republican candidate for national office has dealt with the exact same bias as Palin encountered. Even George W. Bush, as much as Washington outsider as Palin, handled the tough questioning with grace and as best he could. Although he didn't seem to have many allies in the national press corps, he did not attack them and blame antagonistic reporters for his shortcomings.

For this, he deserves credit.

I have written here before that Sarah Palin appeals to the lowest common denominator in the Republican Party -- a group that thinks the answer to every problem is tax cuts; Rush Limbaugh devotees who suspect Barack Obama has come to take away their guns and impose a Muslim theocracy on the United States; a group bereft of ideas, who can do nothing more than stomp their feet and shout "no" in response to every administration initiative.

Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most about Palin is that she actually seems proud of the fact that she is derided as a know-nothing by the political establishment. She seizes on this criticism and turns it into applause lines. To me, that's ridiculous. I don't want a leader who is effectively laughing at the notion of an educated, informed mind.

I am no supporter of President Obama's policies on the whole, but he has proven himself to be a minimally competent, reasonably thoughtful chief executive. Even though I fundamentally disagree with most of the the president's initiatives, I cannot imagine voting against him in 2012 if Sarah Palin somehow secures the Republican nomination.