Commentary Magazine


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Flotsam and Jetsam

A fascinating report from Stephen Hayes from the Republican Governors conference. The contrast between the charismatic Sarah Palin and her wonkish colleagues is apparent. In their own distinctive way, each is impressive — vastly more so than any Republican in Washington.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is a lonely opponent of bailout mania.

A must-read debunking of five election myths from Chris Cillizza includes this: “For skittish conservatives looking for more evidence that McCain understood their needs and concerns, [Sarah] Palin did the trick. It’s hard to imagine conservatives rallying to McCain — even to the relatively limited extent that they did — without Palin on the ticket. And without the base, McCain’s loss could have been far worse.” The issue for Palin will be if she can retain the affection of the base while becoming someone who can be embraced by those beyond the base.

Karl Rove has plenty of savvy advice for Republicans including this (which won’t be greeted warmly in some conservative corners): “Republicans must find a way to support secure borders, a guest-worker program and comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens citizenship, grows our economy and keeps America a welcoming nation. An anti-Hispanic attitude is suicidal. As the party of Lincoln, Republicans have a moral obligation to make our case to Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans who share our values. Whether we see gains in 2010 depends on it.”

Gail Collins gets to the heart of the best argument in favor of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State: “While there are many excellent arguments for offering Clinton the job, one of the best is that until now, Senator Kerry was supposed to be the front-runner for State. Does that sound right, people? When one is out searching for the nation’s top diplomat, does it make sense to pick a guy who gets low scores in sociability?” The second best reason? Bill Richardson is also in the running.

Meanwhile, Maureen Dowd notes: “And Joe Biden would probably like a little less blond ambition at State so he could be the shadow secretary. But as James Carville has said, a campaign is the time to stab your enemies and a transition is the time to stab your friends.”

That’s rich — Eliot Spitzer doling out advice about excess and greed. If ever there were an argument against investing undue power in the hands of a government that can be bullying, undisciplined, and unprincipled, he is it. And in the most mindless suggestion yet? Appoint him to the Senate! Ah, where his arrogance and obnoxious behavior will fit right in?

The Washington Post should work harder at eliminating bias, says its ombudsman. Next time, how about during the campaign ?

This has a measure of truth: “Obama won the election not because of anything the McCain campaign did wrong. Obama won the election because he had the more plausible ‘change agent’ message and because he had vastly more resources with which to get this message out.” But two alternative conclusions might follow: either no one could have beaten Obama or McCain was the wrong candidate from the get go.