Commentary Magazine


Contentions

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.