Monthly Archives: January 2008

Ann v. John, tooth & nail

Republicans face a very bad situation come November, says the radically astute Ann Coulter:

The bright side of the Florida debacle is that I no longer fear Hillary Clinton. (I mean in terms of her becoming president – on a personal level, she’s still a little creepy.) I’d rather deal with President Hillary than with President McCain. With Hillary, we’ll get the same ruinous liberal policies with none of the responsibility.

Thing is, Pres. McCain comes up with leftist stuff, Repubs will back him up, at least at first and at least most, says C.  She mocks him in trademark style:

McCain’s neurotic boast that he is the only Republican who supported the surge is beginning to sound as insane as Bill Clinton’s claim to being the “first black president” – although less insulting to blacks. As with the Clintons, you find yourself looking up such tedious facts as this, which ran a week after Bush announced the surge:

“On the morning of Bush’s address, Romney endorsed a troop surge.” – The National Journal, Jan. 13, 2007

That’s her view of McCain as liar.  The bad situation would find its conclusion in the four years following next January, assuming the nation picks McCain:

At least under President Hillary, Republicans in Congress would know that they’re supposed to fight back. When President McCain proposes the same ideas – tax hikes, liberal judges and Social Security for illegals – Republicans in Congress will support “our” president – just as they supported, if only briefly, Bush’s great ideas on amnesty and Harriet Miers.

At least under H., she argues, Repubs would know the enemy and go after her hammer and tong, tooth and nail — maybe, say I: they would still be looking over their shoulders at the NYTimes and its lemming-like cabal. 

However, and here she concludes rather weakly, pragmatism will out —  and isn’t that the heck of it?  I accept the universe, said the lady sitting next to Winston Churchill at dinner, to which the great man replied, By God, you’d better.

Meanwhile, the universe is ours to mold, more or less, as the beat and debate goes on.  The dice are not yet cast, our Rubicon not yet crossed, and the irksome realities surrounding and embodying McCain are not yet to be downplayed.

Update: More on McCain the fibber from Robert Novak.  Buzz was McC dissed Alito as too conservative, McC remembered saying no such thing.  But:

In fact, multiple sources confirm his negative comments about Alito nine months ago.

Problem is, says Novak,

McCain, as the ‘straight talk’ candidate, says things off the cuff that he sometimes cannot remember exactly.

Yes.  Thing is, to keep the heat on him, getting him out and up front with support for the likes of Alito and tax-cutting, says N.

More update:  Oh my, what about this shot at McCain the Impulsive, from PowerLine’s Paul Mirengoff?

McCain’s tendency to make snap judgments based on prejudice rather than information, and his hostility to information that doesn’t conform to his prejudices, is perhaps the most frightening aspect of candidacy. It is also the most stark difference between McCain and Romney, outstripping any substantive disagreements in my view.

For instance,

He opposes drilling in ANWR because, in his words, the area is “pristine” (which in this case means barren) and he “wouldn’t drill in the Grand Canyon.” Has any candidate ever presented a less serious analysis of an important policy question?

He opposes waterboarding in part because “torture doesn’t work.” Maybe the things the North Vietnamese did to him at the Hanoi Hilton didn’t work, but we know from eye-witness accounts that waterboarding worked. When I asked McCain about this, he essentially accused the CIA of lying.


More update: Sounding the death knell for the Romney campaign in the WSJ Political Diary, WSJ man Daniel Henninger cited his data-dumping in debate and on stump as major problem:

As Mike Huckabee might put it, the bane of the Romney candidacy was Bain & Company. Bain is the consulting firm where by his own admission Mr. Romney learned how to think about the world — through the eyes of a management consultant. As any CEO who has ever hired one of these firms will tell you, they are fascinating guys to talk to but you wouldn’t want them actually running your company.

Or as my friend Charlie Herman used to tell me, they borrow your watch to tell you what time it is, then keep the watch.

Let’s hear it for the next chief executive

The issue that won’t go away, McCain leading Romney or not, is McCain as someone who knows how to run things:

No offense to motivational speakers, but real-world management skills are useful too. That’s a McCain weak point.

Says Collin Levy in the subscription-only Wall St. Journal Political Diary

The truth is, Mitt Romney’s management skills are unquestioned by those who dealt with him at Bain Capital and the Salt Lake City Olympics, whereas Mr. McCain’s reputation for staff work at the Commerce Committee was less than stellar — in fact, it was a source of consistent and vocal complaint by those who did business with the committee.

It’s the economy, stupid, it’s the war vs. Islamo-fascism, it’s judges, it’s tax-cuts, it’s lots of things.  But the man in charge better know how to run the show.

The coach speaks

A good point about the Rick Majerus blather about the joys of abortion on demand, from Wash Times’s Tom Knott:

Majerus probably would be unhappy if one of his assistants used his free-speech right to publicly question the defensive philosophy of the basketball program.

M. coaches b-ball at St. Louis U., a presumed Catholic institution, and recently expressed himself freely about “choice” at a Billary rally, then complained about the local archbishop’s attempt to inhibit him. 

But what about that hypothetical assistant mouthing off about zone vs. man-to-man or when to cut, when to dribble?

Let’s hear it also for a governor

Here’s an overlong but (also) persuasive pitch for Romney, to go as counterpoint to Dennis Byrne’s column below:

When it comes to the economy and judges, Mitt’s the One!

Bad economic news highlights the need for a President with the credentials of Mitt Romney, not political maverick John McCain, Mitt’s chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

That’s boilerplate: he’s the one for the economy.  But contained within this presentation is an even more important case for Romney, his being a more experienced and responsible manager.  Quoting National Review:

At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington…, Romney offers proven executive skill.

Governors generally do, some more than others.  Senators generally do not.  GW was a governor but not a very good executive — “Heckuva job, Brownie” and all that.  But for president we want an executive, do we not?

This writer, NY lawyer Michael Gaynor, a gung-ho Romney supporter, also cites Wikipedia — McCain as goof-off until he was a hero, Romney as an achiever of the first water. 

Like Dennis Byrne, he picks judge-selection as crucial, citing McCain’s “gang of fourteen” membership aimed at blocking or compromising in appointments of conservatives.  In this he focuses on McCain as legislator- compromiser.

As for Romney, having the Judicial Confirmation Network in his corner says it all.

There’s more to be said about all this, but let us close with Thomas Sowell’s comment at Real Clear Politics a few weeks ago:

When it comes to personal temperament, Governor Romney would rate the highest for his even keel, regardless of what events are swirling around him, with Rudolph Giuliani a close second.

Temperament is far more important for a President than for a candidate. A President has to be on an even keel 24/7, for four long years, despite crises that can break out anywhere in the world at any time.

John McCain trails the pack in the temperament department, with his volatile, arrogant, and abrasive know-it-all attitude. His track record in the Senate is full of the betrayals of Republican supporters that have been the party’s biggest failing over the years and its Achilles heel politically.

Ouch! for McCain supporters, and let’s hear it! from Romney-ites — and, I may add, for those who have executive ability in mind when voting for the chief executive.

Thunder on the right? Clash of titans?

I have told D. Byrne he is very persuasive with this Chi Trib column of today and think I’d better tell you all.  He gives the case for McCain as adequately conservative and best equipped to govern, along the way making a fair try at putting Rush L. in his place:

Nothing seems to anger die-hard Republicans more than Cafeteria Conservatives — folks who pick and choose which right-wing diktat they will believe or reject.

Chief among the die-hards is Rush Limbaugh, the conservative equivalent of the Roman Catholic Church’s Curia, who deigns to define what constitutes conservative purity. No one better in the church wields the nihil obstat (nothing hinders) stamp better than his lugness. Not even medieval church censors were better at defining what is free or not free of doctrinal error.

Chiefly the McCain advantage lies here, he says:

[T]he two most important issues in the election are national security (i.e. the war on terror, the war in Iraq and the nuclear threat posed by lunatic tyrants) and the quality and philosophical grounding of the new president’s appointments to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

It’s Islamic fundamentalism, stupid, and the courts.

All the cardinal’s men

Sun-Times religion writer Susan Hogan/Albach reprises her rundown on how Chicago churchmen prospered in the wake of the Rev. Daniel McCormack scandal in this (farewell) blog.  She did well in her short time at that newspaper, now being axed beyond recognition in paroxysms of budget-cutting.

Two years ago this month, the Rev. Daniel McCormack was arrested for molesting boys. He’s in prison now. And the top leaders in the Archdiocese of Chicago who might have stopped him have risen in their church positions.

They are:

* Cardinal George, elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops four months after McCormack pleaded guilty and went to jail

* George Rassas, made an auxiliary bishop a few weeks after McCormack’s 2006 arrest following his 2005 arrest and subsequent further molestation of children while remaining a pastor

* Chancellor Jimmy Lago, who kept his job throughout the McCormack sequence, while overseeing offices that handle sexual abuse, claiming ignorance.

* Rev. John Canary, seminary vice rector in 1992 when sexual accusations were made against McCormack involving two adult males and a minor starting in 1988, later seminary rector and in 2006 appointed vicar general, replacing Rassas when he was made a bishop

* Bishop Gerald Kicanas, seminary rector during McCormack’s years who knew of “sexual improprieties” reported about him but said, “It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him” and became a bishop in 1995, a year after McCormack’s ordination, in 2001 being given his own diocese (Tucson) and being elected vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops two months ago, with presumed right of succession to the presidency now held by Cardinal George.

Loads of comments follow the blog item.

The rooster crows

If you doubted something new was coming, you were wrong, Barack Obama said in his S. Carolina victory speech, even as he was being compared to JFK by Caroline K. in NYT

However, if JFK told us to ask what we could do for our country, Obama tells us to ask what our country can do for us.

Such as to “make college affordable or energy cleaner” and rid us of “crumbling schools . . . shuttered mills and homes for sale” and get us “a health care plan . . . better pay” and help “struggling homeowners [a]nd seniors,” to put “an end to a war” and achieve “jobs and justice.”

Millions for tribute to economic expectations, nothing (not a word) for defense against worldwide Islamic radicalism.  That will come later, we trust, when he’s in office and disaster strikes.  Meanwhile, the base requires economic salvation-by-government, and this man promises it.

Great oratorical skills, better speech-writing, with beautifully located shots at the Billary campaign.  He has the tools of inspiration of the masses, as did Caesar per Wm. Shakespeare, Casca telling Brutus:

I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown (yet ’twas not a crown neither, ’twas one of these coronets) and, as I told you, he put it by once. But for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again. But, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by; and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their chopped hands and threw up their sweaty nightcaps and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked Caesar, for he swounded and fell down at it. And for mine own part, I durst not laugh for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.

This fellow also had a way with words, did he not?


From Powerline Blog:

No doubt some will characterize [Obama’s speech] as eloquent, but I think a better term is vapid. If you strip away the vaguely high-minded generalities, only two policy positions are (more or less) clearly stated. Obama wants to fail in Iraq, and he wants government-run medicine here at home. It’s hard to see anything either noble or unifying in these goals.


Obama’s speech was virtually content free. Obama declared that “there are real differences between the candidates,” but then failed to cite even one policy disagreement between him and his Democratic rivals.

A shell game.

Yet more, from the inimitable Mark Steyn:

Re: Caroline Kennedy

Obama is Kennedyesque in one respect: on the stump with supporters (in my experience), he’s cool and a little remote and detached – and, like JFK pre-death, oddly unknowable. Maybe it’s just in comparison with that oozing phony Edwards touting the same old mawkish driveling anecdotage from town to town.

Anyway, I don’t suppose that’s what Miss Kennedy means. All she’s saying is that a big chunk of the country (and not all of them Democrats) want someone new, young and glamorous – and, if he’s a member of an approved minority group, so much the better.

The new, the young, the glamorous.  From Chicago?

He’s in the doghouse?

Bill was no help at all in S. Carolina, says John Dickerson for Slate, so much so that:

A big question facing the Clinton campaign is whether to put the Big Dog, Bill Clinton, back on the porch. The Himbo eruptions before the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucus appeared to help Hillary. . . .   [A]fter South Carolina we might see Bill Clinton suddenly dispatched to solve some new crisis in a country with no satellite trucks and no cell towers.


Plugging the daughter

Filing this by Chi Trib’s Sid Smith under wish-I-wrote-it:

Shot simultaneously in a dozen or so locales, “Election Day” offers a snapshot, and a vibrant one, of our national diversity: urban dwellers in New York City; Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Mich.; farmers in Stockholm, Wis.; African-Americans in Quincy, Fla.; and Native Americans striving to get out the vote in Pine Ridge, S.D. Factory workers and dishwashers share their experiences. So does a convicted felon voting for the first time.

The movie deals with some thorny issues of disenfranchisement, in Florida in 2000 and in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 2004. But this is more about the hues of the nation’s fabric, more an amiable glimpse into everyday life during one of our quadrennial watersheds. It’s a pleasant pastime rather than a revelation, though here and there it zeroes in on underlying anxiety. How did we get to be so divided, a woman wonders near the end, and no one seems to have an answer.

“Election Day” ran last night at the Siskel Center on State a few doors south of Lake and runs again, same place, Monday at 6 p.m.  Tix on line or at the door.  Nice refreshment bar for your usual popcorn, espresso, etc.

The director Katy Chevigny and producer Maggie Bowman were on hand for q&a.  Maggie will be there Monday.  They are also to be on WBEZ-FM’s “Eight Forty-Eight” show, 9 a.m. Monday, though .

As for viewer response to last night’s showing, (a) the parents approved, which is the first thing for a producer of anything to worry about, as we all know even if we don’t admit it, and (b) so did everyone else.

The editor who couldn’t count

Something more about the most recently fired LA Times editor, from Random Mumblings:

The departure of Jim O’Shea from the L.A. Times shouldn’t be construed as fighting the gallant battle for journalism. It was the battle for status quo and business as usual.

What’s needed is creative thinking, new approaches and a reassessment of what newspapers do. O’Shea failed on all points. He needed to go.

Pulling last year’s or four year’s ago plans from the files and adjusting for inflation is not managing as an editor. Finding a way to do great journalism (big J and little J) despite the obstacles is.

The commentator did not just come in from the cold:

Jack Lail is managing editor/multimedia for The Knoxville News-Sentinel.

He directs The Knoxville News Sentinel’s online content efforts, which include,,, and

There’s lots more about this guy here.

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