Commentary Magazine


Posts For: November 9, 2008

Step One On The Road To Recovery

The MSM is confessing. Yes, they were biased. Sure, they favored one side. But they don’t quite come out and say why. Worse, they show no inclination to do anything about it.

Conservatives are fairly certain it stems from ideological bias. After all, if the errors always are made against one side, it stands to reason that it is because the media wants it that way. When, after the election, Chris Matthews declared it was his job to help the new President, I think the jig was up.

But the media resists this interpretation, straining to come up with other rationales. They love a “good story,” or they are attracted to the “newest star.” But these justifications falter with minimal scrutiny. (Sarah Palin is the newest politician, and certainly the rise from college basketball player to VP nominee is “good copy.”) They really can’t admit they are in the tank for ideological reasons. If so, their entire self-image as objective guardians of “truth” would collapse. And, moreover, they might have to hire different people–ones who thought differently and could balance their coverage.

There’s lots of talk these days about the “fairness doctrine.” That would be government imposed “balance”–i.e. censorship of the media. Nothing could be less conducive to a vibrant democracy. But nothing prevents the MSM from imposing their own fairness doctrines. A few tips: hire conservatives and religious people (you can find them writing and reporting all over the blogospehre), label “opinion” as such (not “analysis”) and put it back in the opinion section or at the end of a newscast, and count the fluffy and hit pieces on both sides and make sure they balance out. These and other similarly self-evident items should be 101 Journalism.

Some think it would be nice if new media entirely replaced the old. I don’t. I think there is a need for non-ideological, fact-finding news organizations. While some are rooting for the extinction of old media,  I would settle for some soul-searching and reform. It is not that hard. But, as with any dysfunctional behavior, the first step is admitting the problem.

The MSM is confessing. Yes, they were biased. Sure, they favored one side. But they don’t quite come out and say why. Worse, they show no inclination to do anything about it.

Conservatives are fairly certain it stems from ideological bias. After all, if the errors always are made against one side, it stands to reason that it is because the media wants it that way. When, after the election, Chris Matthews declared it was his job to help the new President, I think the jig was up.

But the media resists this interpretation, straining to come up with other rationales. They love a “good story,” or they are attracted to the “newest star.” But these justifications falter with minimal scrutiny. (Sarah Palin is the newest politician, and certainly the rise from college basketball player to VP nominee is “good copy.”) They really can’t admit they are in the tank for ideological reasons. If so, their entire self-image as objective guardians of “truth” would collapse. And, moreover, they might have to hire different people–ones who thought differently and could balance their coverage.

There’s lots of talk these days about the “fairness doctrine.” That would be government imposed “balance”–i.e. censorship of the media. Nothing could be less conducive to a vibrant democracy. But nothing prevents the MSM from imposing their own fairness doctrines. A few tips: hire conservatives and religious people (you can find them writing and reporting all over the blogospehre), label “opinion” as such (not “analysis”) and put it back in the opinion section or at the end of a newscast, and count the fluffy and hit pieces on both sides and make sure they balance out. These and other similarly self-evident items should be 101 Journalism.

Some think it would be nice if new media entirely replaced the old. I don’t. I think there is a need for non-ideological, fact-finding news organizations. While some are rooting for the extinction of old media,  I would settle for some soul-searching and reform. It is not that hard. But, as with any dysfunctional behavior, the first step is admitting the problem.

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Ending the “War on Terror”

“Will the ‘war on terror’ continue once the Obama administration is in office?” asks the Washington Post this morning.  Of course, the United States should continue to find, fight, capture, detain, and kill terrorists.  We should step up efforts to take away their funding and ensure that governments provide no refuge to them.  No one here, in fact, argues otherwise.

But should we make “the war on terror” the principal focus of America’s external relations?  No.  Terrorists can kill Americans, but, without the support of others, they do not pose an existential threat to either the United States or the international system we lead.

President Bush deserves credit for preventing terrorist incidents on American soil after September 11, yet he has allowed greater dangers to gather.  He has, in prosecuting the “war on terror,” enlisted the support of nations that wish us ill, legitimized their authoritarian governments, helped them grow stronger, stayed silent as they banded together to undermine us, and allowed them to support states that pose grave threats to us and our allies.  Mr. Bush even permitted one of these so-called allies in the terror war-China-to conduct attacks on American military assets without comment.  In short, we have paid an exceedingly high price to promote the “war on terror.”  The world, unfortunately, is far more dangerous for us than it was at the beginning of Mr. Bush’s first term.

These days, terrorists without weapons of mass destruction are essentially nuisances.  Yet the Bush administration has allowed adversaries to support states that could arm terrorists with nuclear devices.  Mr. Bush almost never raised his voice against Russia or China after September 11 and has allowed this pair to support North Korean and Iranian ambitions to acquire the ultimate weapons of warfare.  For example, in 2003 he acceded to China on North Korea, with the result that Kim Jong Il detonated a nuclear device in October 2006 and spread the technology to Syria and Iran.  Now, our president is allowing Moscow and Beijing to impede American efforts against the Iranian mullahs, who are about six months from acquiring all the technology needed to develop the bomb.  He also permitted China to transfer to Iran technology and materials needed for nuclear weapons.

A nuclear North Korea is the result of the “war on terror,” and, in all probability, so will a nuclear Iran.  We need, therefore, to rethink our assumptions and try something new.  Should we fight terrorists?  Yes.  Should we make them the focus of our foreign policy?  No.  As a first priority, we need to oppose those adversaries that can do us the most harm.  Unfortunately, the Bush administration has made them our friends.

“Will the ‘war on terror’ continue once the Obama administration is in office?” asks the Washington Post this morning.  Of course, the United States should continue to find, fight, capture, detain, and kill terrorists.  We should step up efforts to take away their funding and ensure that governments provide no refuge to them.  No one here, in fact, argues otherwise.

But should we make “the war on terror” the principal focus of America’s external relations?  No.  Terrorists can kill Americans, but, without the support of others, they do not pose an existential threat to either the United States or the international system we lead.

President Bush deserves credit for preventing terrorist incidents on American soil after September 11, yet he has allowed greater dangers to gather.  He has, in prosecuting the “war on terror,” enlisted the support of nations that wish us ill, legitimized their authoritarian governments, helped them grow stronger, stayed silent as they banded together to undermine us, and allowed them to support states that pose grave threats to us and our allies.  Mr. Bush even permitted one of these so-called allies in the terror war-China-to conduct attacks on American military assets without comment.  In short, we have paid an exceedingly high price to promote the “war on terror.”  The world, unfortunately, is far more dangerous for us than it was at the beginning of Mr. Bush’s first term.

These days, terrorists without weapons of mass destruction are essentially nuisances.  Yet the Bush administration has allowed adversaries to support states that could arm terrorists with nuclear devices.  Mr. Bush almost never raised his voice against Russia or China after September 11 and has allowed this pair to support North Korean and Iranian ambitions to acquire the ultimate weapons of warfare.  For example, in 2003 he acceded to China on North Korea, with the result that Kim Jong Il detonated a nuclear device in October 2006 and spread the technology to Syria and Iran.  Now, our president is allowing Moscow and Beijing to impede American efforts against the Iranian mullahs, who are about six months from acquiring all the technology needed to develop the bomb.  He also permitted China to transfer to Iran technology and materials needed for nuclear weapons.

A nuclear North Korea is the result of the “war on terror,” and, in all probability, so will a nuclear Iran.  We need, therefore, to rethink our assumptions and try something new.  Should we fight terrorists?  Yes.  Should we make them the focus of our foreign policy?  No.  As a first priority, we need to oppose those adversaries that can do us the most harm.  Unfortunately, the Bush administration has made them our friends.

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Looking Ahead

Ann Althouse recalls the second presidential debate:

McCain never presented the conservative alternative to Obama. He never even called himself a conservative last night. He was wandering all over that red carpet, microphone in hand, and I have the feeling, in retrospect, that he was truly bewildered, mouthing old phrases, trying to slip by. But one old phrase that was missing was “I’m a proud conservative.” Remember when he used to say that?…

McCain has lost definition. He’s stumbling along to the finish line, hoping to achieve his lifelong ambition, to seize the crown at last. But why? To show he can get along with Democrats? I worry about what awful innovations the new President will concoct in league with the Democratic Congress, but at this point, I’m more worried about McCain than Obama.

Conservatives will argue over McCain’s main failings. Was he too conservative? Not conservative enough?  But Althouse, I think, nails it: he wasn’t really anything. He had an opportunity to piece together a center-right message. But instead it came out as an incoherent mishmash defined by what he was against (e.g. socialism, Obama, Wall Street greed).

Conservative reformers pleaded with the McCain camp to formulate a reform agenda. For reasons that are not clear, McCain and his crew were unwilling or unable to do that. Perhaps they never understood that the main task of a presidential campaign is to create an overarching vision of where you would like to take the country.

As for the future, Republicans would do well to look forward and not back. There is much to be said for conservative critics who argue that the singular focus on low taxes and fiscal frugality isn’t sufficient as a national platform. In an era in which 40% of voters don’t pay taxes, that approach certainly seems irrelevant.

So rather than retreating to “core principles,” conservatives would do well to think big, reach out to successful reformers in office, and eschew the defensive, paranoid style of political combat that marked too much of the last few political cycles. Yes, the media is biased, but what of it? I don’t recall the press being any more fair when Ronald Reagan won twice.

Time, then, for Republicans to get out of their bunkers. The election of 2008 provides ample proof, if any was needed, that big ideas and great messengers still matter. Republicans should get some of both.

Ann Althouse recalls the second presidential debate:

McCain never presented the conservative alternative to Obama. He never even called himself a conservative last night. He was wandering all over that red carpet, microphone in hand, and I have the feeling, in retrospect, that he was truly bewildered, mouthing old phrases, trying to slip by. But one old phrase that was missing was “I’m a proud conservative.” Remember when he used to say that?…

McCain has lost definition. He’s stumbling along to the finish line, hoping to achieve his lifelong ambition, to seize the crown at last. But why? To show he can get along with Democrats? I worry about what awful innovations the new President will concoct in league with the Democratic Congress, but at this point, I’m more worried about McCain than Obama.

Conservatives will argue over McCain’s main failings. Was he too conservative? Not conservative enough?  But Althouse, I think, nails it: he wasn’t really anything. He had an opportunity to piece together a center-right message. But instead it came out as an incoherent mishmash defined by what he was against (e.g. socialism, Obama, Wall Street greed).

Conservative reformers pleaded with the McCain camp to formulate a reform agenda. For reasons that are not clear, McCain and his crew were unwilling or unable to do that. Perhaps they never understood that the main task of a presidential campaign is to create an overarching vision of where you would like to take the country.

As for the future, Republicans would do well to look forward and not back. There is much to be said for conservative critics who argue that the singular focus on low taxes and fiscal frugality isn’t sufficient as a national platform. In an era in which 40% of voters don’t pay taxes, that approach certainly seems irrelevant.

So rather than retreating to “core principles,” conservatives would do well to think big, reach out to successful reformers in office, and eschew the defensive, paranoid style of political combat that marked too much of the last few political cycles. Yes, the media is biased, but what of it? I don’t recall the press being any more fair when Ronald Reagan won twice.

Time, then, for Republicans to get out of their bunkers. The election of 2008 provides ample proof, if any was needed, that big ideas and great messengers still matter. Republicans should get some of both.

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The Climate-Change Reformation

Al Gore — outdone only by L. Ron Hubbard in his ability to weave science fiction into a religion — is reforming the climate change faith, and turning it toward the discussion of energy independence and American financial viability. The truth, alas, has proved too inconvenient to ignore. Among non-partisan researchers, there is now little doubt that human-generated carbon dioxide makes only an insignificant contribution to climate change. More importantly, there is agreement among virtually all climatologists that the planet is experiencing the beginnings of a cold spell, expected to last as long as 30 years, due to a decrease in solar activity. Most significantly, however, the tangible financial crisis has displaced concerns over the invisible climatological one. With the mercury plunging alongside the Dow Jones, the Gore age is on the way out.

In an op-ed in today’s New York Times, Gore dispenses with the elastic “findings” of various environmentalists, and simply tells climate-change skeptics to “wake up.” While he lays out a five-part “plan that would simultaneously move us toward solutions to the climate crisis and the economic crisis – and create millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced,” he only gets down to proper CO2 fear-mongering in the last of his five points.

Gore’s “new” plan includes some wedged-in pandering to mortgage crisis victims, etc., but it is simply another version of packaged government incentives dependent upon the fantasy that scientific solutions to energy dependence are just around the corner. Of course, a scientific solution has been with us for decades: nuclear energy. George W. Bush may say the word funny, but at least he says it. Apocalypse Al can’t risk scaring off his evangelical Greenpeacers with actual science just yet. So, we have more talk of billions of dollars being thrown at unwieldy processes that will supposedly save billions of dollars. As we plunge into a 30-year deep freeze, it’s safe to suppose bottom-of-the-list climate concerns will slide off the page altogether. And as we confront the realities of an international market meltdown, costly Rube Goldberg energy schemes will be abandoned for broader drilling and revamped nuclear power initiatives.

We’ll never know if Al Gore finally understands that he fell for an enormous and costly political scam. But he clearly realizes no one is throwing money into cooling the planet during a chilly recession. And he must sense that the collective American consciousness can only accommodate one overarching fiction at a time. Right now, it’s Obama change — not climate change — that “we can believe in.”

Al Gore — outdone only by L. Ron Hubbard in his ability to weave science fiction into a religion — is reforming the climate change faith, and turning it toward the discussion of energy independence and American financial viability. The truth, alas, has proved too inconvenient to ignore. Among non-partisan researchers, there is now little doubt that human-generated carbon dioxide makes only an insignificant contribution to climate change. More importantly, there is agreement among virtually all climatologists that the planet is experiencing the beginnings of a cold spell, expected to last as long as 30 years, due to a decrease in solar activity. Most significantly, however, the tangible financial crisis has displaced concerns over the invisible climatological one. With the mercury plunging alongside the Dow Jones, the Gore age is on the way out.

In an op-ed in today’s New York Times, Gore dispenses with the elastic “findings” of various environmentalists, and simply tells climate-change skeptics to “wake up.” While he lays out a five-part “plan that would simultaneously move us toward solutions to the climate crisis and the economic crisis – and create millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced,” he only gets down to proper CO2 fear-mongering in the last of his five points.

Gore’s “new” plan includes some wedged-in pandering to mortgage crisis victims, etc., but it is simply another version of packaged government incentives dependent upon the fantasy that scientific solutions to energy dependence are just around the corner. Of course, a scientific solution has been with us for decades: nuclear energy. George W. Bush may say the word funny, but at least he says it. Apocalypse Al can’t risk scaring off his evangelical Greenpeacers with actual science just yet. So, we have more talk of billions of dollars being thrown at unwieldy processes that will supposedly save billions of dollars. As we plunge into a 30-year deep freeze, it’s safe to suppose bottom-of-the-list climate concerns will slide off the page altogether. And as we confront the realities of an international market meltdown, costly Rube Goldberg energy schemes will be abandoned for broader drilling and revamped nuclear power initiatives.

We’ll never know if Al Gore finally understands that he fell for an enormous and costly political scam. But he clearly realizes no one is throwing money into cooling the planet during a chilly recession. And he must sense that the collective American consciousness can only accommodate one overarching fiction at a time. Right now, it’s Obama change — not climate change — that “we can believe in.”

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An Early Test for Obama

How much do we care whether the United States countsauthoritarian regimes among its best friends? An early test case for the new administration will be that of Egypt, where the blogger Abdul Kareem Nabil Soliman is being held in prison, in terrible conditions, for insulting Islam and defaming President Hosni Mubarak. On Thursday, former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky assailed Egypt’s treatment of Soliman, as rallies were held near Egyptian embassies around the world.

This is a new example of an old problem. On the one hand, the righteousness of the Cold War was based not only on the Soviet threat to the West, but also on grotesque Soviet human rights violations. On the other hand, the insistence that American alliances in the Middle East be connected to human rights has been dismissed, in recent years, as neocon agitation. Egypt is a major recipient of American foreign aid. And there are many who consistently propose going soft on Egypt, in part because of its role as intermediary with Israel, and in part because of the fear that the regime is always at risk of being overrun by powerful Islamist forces.

So: what will Obama do?

How much do we care whether the United States countsauthoritarian regimes among its best friends? An early test case for the new administration will be that of Egypt, where the blogger Abdul Kareem Nabil Soliman is being held in prison, in terrible conditions, for insulting Islam and defaming President Hosni Mubarak. On Thursday, former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky assailed Egypt’s treatment of Soliman, as rallies were held near Egyptian embassies around the world.

This is a new example of an old problem. On the one hand, the righteousness of the Cold War was based not only on the Soviet threat to the West, but also on grotesque Soviet human rights violations. On the other hand, the insistence that American alliances in the Middle East be connected to human rights has been dismissed, in recent years, as neocon agitation. Egypt is a major recipient of American foreign aid. And there are many who consistently propose going soft on Egypt, in part because of its role as intermediary with Israel, and in part because of the fear that the regime is always at risk of being overrun by powerful Islamist forces.

So: what will Obama do?

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Katon Dawson, who is running for the RNC chief, tells the anti-Palin critics to pipe down. Not a bad way to demonstrate leadership.

Debunking the Palin smears has become a full time job.

Nancy Pelosi apparently thinks California voters were too dumb to know they were voting on a ban on gay marriage. Well, at least she didn’t call them bigots.

You get the sense that some Democrats think a political trade-off – card check legislation in exchange for passage of  free trade agreements — is in the offing. Mitch McConnell and his forty-some-odd Republicans may have something to say about that (i.e. a filibuster). Nothing is better designed to rejuvenate the Republicans than a  knock-down-drag-out fight over Big Labor taking away secret ballot elections. And some Red State Senators (e.g. North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan and Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln ) up for re-election in 2010 won’t be that thrilled either.

Jeffrey Bell on Sarah Palin: “The reason elite opinion makers are set on destroying her is fear. They sense that like Ronald Reagan, and unlike, say, Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, she really, genuinely doesn’t care what they think, and for that reason is willing and able to go over their heads and make a strong, direct appeal to voters.”

Sage advice from Noemie Emery: “Is it not perhaps a little unseemly for pundits and activists, who talk mainly to themselves and each other, have no accountability, no responsibility, and work under pressures no harder than deadlines, to complain endlessly about their betrayals at the hands of politicians and presidents, who, while responsible for the fate of the country, have the temerity to stray from their exquisitely crafted ideas? History is seldom made by pundits and machers who kvetch in tranquility. It is made by politicians who muck about in the arena, seizing their chances as fate presents them, in a climate of unforeseen happenings.”

This is rich: Steve Schmidt telling us the Republican party has to have “a vision that is compelling.” Might have thought of that during the race.  Interesting that he acknowledges the horrid and rampant disloyalty of leaking aides throughout the campaign. Again, he might have done something about that.

David Broder gives Republicans some good advice: pay more attention to successful Republican governors and less to unsuccessful Beltway Republicans.

We can only hope John Fund is right: “A likely first assignment for Mr. Emanuel will be reminding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that, after only two years of Democratic control, Congress already has a lower approval rating than even President Bush’s.”

Let’s hope Defense Secretary Robert Gates can “help Senator Obama walk away (at least partially and temporarily) from his campaign pledge to get all combat brigades out of Iraq by April 2010–an idea that remains much too risky.”

I was not the only one perturbed by Obama’s failure to name his Treasury Secretary last week. Morton Kondrake: “Obama has only been president-elect for about 65 hours so you can’t expect everything out of him today, but it would have been helpful, I think everything if he had named the Treasury Secretary today. That would have indicated that he is really on top of things, as opposed to standing back and studying what he’s going to do.”

Rich Lowry talks sense: “Connecting better on the economy and middle-class pocketbook and quality-of-life issues will go a long way toward alleviating the troubles the GOP had in reaching moderates, suburbanites and even Latinos this year. It will require refreshing the conservative policy arsenal with innovative proposals that will look more like McCain’s health-care plan than the old tried and true, and it will mean engaging on concerns such as congestion and college tuition that have traditionally been beneath conservative notice.” That said, so long as the Republicans pursue a “No way, no how” position on immigration reform, it is not clear that their position with Latinos will improve any.

Katon Dawson, who is running for the RNC chief, tells the anti-Palin critics to pipe down. Not a bad way to demonstrate leadership.

Debunking the Palin smears has become a full time job.

Nancy Pelosi apparently thinks California voters were too dumb to know they were voting on a ban on gay marriage. Well, at least she didn’t call them bigots.

You get the sense that some Democrats think a political trade-off – card check legislation in exchange for passage of  free trade agreements — is in the offing. Mitch McConnell and his forty-some-odd Republicans may have something to say about that (i.e. a filibuster). Nothing is better designed to rejuvenate the Republicans than a  knock-down-drag-out fight over Big Labor taking away secret ballot elections. And some Red State Senators (e.g. North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan and Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln ) up for re-election in 2010 won’t be that thrilled either.

Jeffrey Bell on Sarah Palin: “The reason elite opinion makers are set on destroying her is fear. They sense that like Ronald Reagan, and unlike, say, Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, she really, genuinely doesn’t care what they think, and for that reason is willing and able to go over their heads and make a strong, direct appeal to voters.”

Sage advice from Noemie Emery: “Is it not perhaps a little unseemly for pundits and activists, who talk mainly to themselves and each other, have no accountability, no responsibility, and work under pressures no harder than deadlines, to complain endlessly about their betrayals at the hands of politicians and presidents, who, while responsible for the fate of the country, have the temerity to stray from their exquisitely crafted ideas? History is seldom made by pundits and machers who kvetch in tranquility. It is made by politicians who muck about in the arena, seizing their chances as fate presents them, in a climate of unforeseen happenings.”

This is rich: Steve Schmidt telling us the Republican party has to have “a vision that is compelling.” Might have thought of that during the race.  Interesting that he acknowledges the horrid and rampant disloyalty of leaking aides throughout the campaign. Again, he might have done something about that.

David Broder gives Republicans some good advice: pay more attention to successful Republican governors and less to unsuccessful Beltway Republicans.

We can only hope John Fund is right: “A likely first assignment for Mr. Emanuel will be reminding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that, after only two years of Democratic control, Congress already has a lower approval rating than even President Bush’s.”

Let’s hope Defense Secretary Robert Gates can “help Senator Obama walk away (at least partially and temporarily) from his campaign pledge to get all combat brigades out of Iraq by April 2010–an idea that remains much too risky.”

I was not the only one perturbed by Obama’s failure to name his Treasury Secretary last week. Morton Kondrake: “Obama has only been president-elect for about 65 hours so you can’t expect everything out of him today, but it would have been helpful, I think everything if he had named the Treasury Secretary today. That would have indicated that he is really on top of things, as opposed to standing back and studying what he’s going to do.”

Rich Lowry talks sense: “Connecting better on the economy and middle-class pocketbook and quality-of-life issues will go a long way toward alleviating the troubles the GOP had in reaching moderates, suburbanites and even Latinos this year. It will require refreshing the conservative policy arsenal with innovative proposals that will look more like McCain’s health-care plan than the old tried and true, and it will mean engaging on concerns such as congestion and college tuition that have traditionally been beneath conservative notice.” That said, so long as the Republicans pursue a “No way, no how” position on immigration reform, it is not clear that their position with Latinos will improve any.

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Just Say No

Morton Kondrake, on the Obama’s Friday presser:

Well, look, if you start bailing out the auto companies, who do you not bail out? As Charles [Krauthammer] says, the financial institutions are like a public utility. Now he said that under the industry is the bedrock of the American manufacturing. That may be true, but, nonetheless, there are a lot of other manufacturing companies that will be going under. And what about retail stores and the retail industry? They’re going under, too. I don’t see why you can’t let General Motors go bankrupt. It’s not going to cease to exist. There will still be a General Motors. It would be reorganized. There would be better management, presumably. They could get rid of some of their debt, maybe loosen up on their labor contracts, and so on.

His comments are on the mark. What purpose is served by giving taxpayer money to auto companies? This would send an unmistakable signal to all of failing corporate America that anyone can line up for handouts at the new White House. No mistake is too great, no mismanagement is too severe, no ridiculous labor arrangement is too unrealistic to prevent gorging at the public trough.

Surely some coalition of fiscal conservatives, Blue Dog Democrats, liberal Democrats (don’t they hate corporate welfare?), and environmentalists (why are we spending taxpayer money on cars instead of new energy technology?) could be formed on this issue. It could prevent an arrangement by which the taxpayers subsidize horrid management. That would certainly be reaching across the aisle for the public good.

Morton Kondrake, on the Obama’s Friday presser:

Well, look, if you start bailing out the auto companies, who do you not bail out? As Charles [Krauthammer] says, the financial institutions are like a public utility. Now he said that under the industry is the bedrock of the American manufacturing. That may be true, but, nonetheless, there are a lot of other manufacturing companies that will be going under. And what about retail stores and the retail industry? They’re going under, too. I don’t see why you can’t let General Motors go bankrupt. It’s not going to cease to exist. There will still be a General Motors. It would be reorganized. There would be better management, presumably. They could get rid of some of their debt, maybe loosen up on their labor contracts, and so on.

His comments are on the mark. What purpose is served by giving taxpayer money to auto companies? This would send an unmistakable signal to all of failing corporate America that anyone can line up for handouts at the new White House. No mistake is too great, no mismanagement is too severe, no ridiculous labor arrangement is too unrealistic to prevent gorging at the public trough.

Surely some coalition of fiscal conservatives, Blue Dog Democrats, liberal Democrats (don’t they hate corporate welfare?), and environmentalists (why are we spending taxpayer money on cars instead of new energy technology?) could be formed on this issue. It could prevent an arrangement by which the taxpayers subsidize horrid management. That would certainly be reaching across the aisle for the public good.

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And For The Losers

Hillary Clinton didn’t get the VP slot. And she is not getting health care stewardship– at least not in the Senate. Politics is tough stuff. And if you lose, the winners generally ignore or spurn you, unless you have something to offer them or pose some danger to them. It might be wise for the new President to give Hillary, and Bill too, something to do. There will be rockier times ahead and it pays to keep your rivals close. Still, it is not likely she will pose much of a danger to his success. Her bargaining power is gone.

As for John McCain, the debate is on as to whether he is going to be a major leader in his party or play for the history books, returning to his previous role as “maverick” (i.e., an irritant to his party). My money is on the latter.

McCain was clearly wounded by the bad rap he got in the media and among his establishment friends.What better way to “restore his image” (as the MSM will undoubtedly characterize it) than to break filibusters, cut deals, and generally do whatever he can to remind us what a “bipartisan deal-maker” he his. Conservatives are already banging their heads on the wall, anticipating they will once again see the John McCain who took the most delight in thwarting his own party rather than attacking liberals.

Clinton and McCain must share a bond. They were both aced by a younger, more charismatic, less experienced man, one who escaped the harsh media scrutiny they both received. Now both are in the same boat. In another four years, I suspect Clinton will be much revered in her own party and McCain rather reviled in his own.

Hillary Clinton didn’t get the VP slot. And she is not getting health care stewardship– at least not in the Senate. Politics is tough stuff. And if you lose, the winners generally ignore or spurn you, unless you have something to offer them or pose some danger to them. It might be wise for the new President to give Hillary, and Bill too, something to do. There will be rockier times ahead and it pays to keep your rivals close. Still, it is not likely she will pose much of a danger to his success. Her bargaining power is gone.

As for John McCain, the debate is on as to whether he is going to be a major leader in his party or play for the history books, returning to his previous role as “maverick” (i.e., an irritant to his party). My money is on the latter.

McCain was clearly wounded by the bad rap he got in the media and among his establishment friends.What better way to “restore his image” (as the MSM will undoubtedly characterize it) than to break filibusters, cut deals, and generally do whatever he can to remind us what a “bipartisan deal-maker” he his. Conservatives are already banging their heads on the wall, anticipating they will once again see the John McCain who took the most delight in thwarting his own party rather than attacking liberals.

Clinton and McCain must share a bond. They were both aced by a younger, more charismatic, less experienced man, one who escaped the harsh media scrutiny they both received. Now both are in the same boat. In another four years, I suspect Clinton will be much revered in her own party and McCain rather reviled in his own.

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