Commentary Magazine


Posts For: November 21, 2008

Time to Go

The WSJ‘s Paul Ingrassia writes:

GM CEO Rick Wagoner said he wouldn’t resign to secure federal aid for his company. This was like Louis XIV saying, “L’État c’est moi.” Mr. Wagoner explained that he didn’t see “what purpose would be served.” Well, the same one served by the presidential election in this country three weeks ago: to bring in somebody new to try some fresh ideas to fix things.

There are multiple benefits to be obtained through Chapter 11–such as the restructuring of union agreements and the reduction of creditor claims, to name only two. But such a process’s ability to clean out management thoroughly and completely shouldn’t be underestimated. This group couldn’t even sell a rescue plan in a recession to a Democratic Congress. (Indeed, they set back their cause through stupidity and arrogance.) They have not made the case that, even with billions from the taxpayers, they would do any better selling cars.

Like President George W. Bush, whose mere appearance has regularly sent the stock market sliding, the Big Three’s management would have been better served staying home and under cover. But in coming out of the shadows, they made the case for bankruptcy. In that sense, they deserve our gratitude.

The WSJ‘s Paul Ingrassia writes:

GM CEO Rick Wagoner said he wouldn’t resign to secure federal aid for his company. This was like Louis XIV saying, “L’État c’est moi.” Mr. Wagoner explained that he didn’t see “what purpose would be served.” Well, the same one served by the presidential election in this country three weeks ago: to bring in somebody new to try some fresh ideas to fix things.

There are multiple benefits to be obtained through Chapter 11–such as the restructuring of union agreements and the reduction of creditor claims, to name only two. But such a process’s ability to clean out management thoroughly and completely shouldn’t be underestimated. This group couldn’t even sell a rescue plan in a recession to a Democratic Congress. (Indeed, they set back their cause through stupidity and arrogance.) They have not made the case that, even with billions from the taxpayers, they would do any better selling cars.

Like President George W. Bush, whose mere appearance has regularly sent the stock market sliding, the Big Three’s management would have been better served staying home and under cover. But in coming out of the shadows, they made the case for bankruptcy. In that sense, they deserve our gratitude.

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What The Huck?

One of Ronald Reagan’s maxims was the so-called “11th Commandment:” “Thou shalt not criticize a fellow Republican.” Obviously, it shouldn’t bear the weight of a commandment, but it’s generally sound advice.

Advice that Mike Huckabee could stand to listen to.

Huckabee, it seems, is angling for another shot at the nomination in 2012. He seems to want it in the worst possible way — and that’s precisely how he’s going about it.

Hosting a show on Fox News is probably a good move. It keeps him in the public eye, it gets folks used to thinking about him and public policy issues, and it plays well with the base. But it’s some of his other moves that should be cause for concern on the Right.

Over the past few weeks. Huckabee has been getting attention mainly for the shots he’s taken at his past rivals.  He wrote the obligatory book on his failed campaign, where he took shots at Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.  He’s described why he thinks John McCain lost — and why he would have beaten Obama. And he’s whined about how he wishes he could have gotten the kind of instant celebrity Sarah Palin got.So the Republicans must be hoping Mike Huckabee will enjoy all the success in the world on Fox. If they’re very lucky, it’ll keep him too busy to make another run for the presidency.

One of Ronald Reagan’s maxims was the so-called “11th Commandment:” “Thou shalt not criticize a fellow Republican.” Obviously, it shouldn’t bear the weight of a commandment, but it’s generally sound advice.

Advice that Mike Huckabee could stand to listen to.

Huckabee, it seems, is angling for another shot at the nomination in 2012. He seems to want it in the worst possible way — and that’s precisely how he’s going about it.

Hosting a show on Fox News is probably a good move. It keeps him in the public eye, it gets folks used to thinking about him and public policy issues, and it plays well with the base. But it’s some of his other moves that should be cause for concern on the Right.

Over the past few weeks. Huckabee has been getting attention mainly for the shots he’s taken at his past rivals.  He wrote the obligatory book on his failed campaign, where he took shots at Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.  He’s described why he thinks John McCain lost — and why he would have beaten Obama. And he’s whined about how he wishes he could have gotten the kind of instant celebrity Sarah Palin got.So the Republicans must be hoping Mike Huckabee will enjoy all the success in the world on Fox. If they’re very lucky, it’ll keep him too busy to make another run for the presidency.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

The NY Post observes: “It’s déjà vu all over again for Team Clinton – and America. And it’s already prompting reminders of all the sordid affairs that attended that era. On Tuesday, for instance, it was reported that Holder would be Obama’s attorney general. As deputy AG under then-President Bill Clinton, Holder played a key role in a Clinton-era scandal: the pardoning of fugitive financier Marc Rich.” One would hope that the President-elect would know to take only the best members of the Clinton administration. But apparently all of them are coming aboard.

The Washington Post is properly concerned — calling the Rich matter a “blot” on Holder’s record. (They don’t even mention the part about Holder’s steering Rich to attorney Jack Quinn, from whom Holder was seeking a job.)

Even Arlen Specter is concerned.

Another reason to root for Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State: the striped-pants set at State doesn’t like the idea. If CIA comes out against it, we know it is a fabulous idea.

Some question why Clinton is the best the GOP could hope for at State. Given that the President-elect had been advised by the likes of John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Robert Malley, Tony McPeak, Chuck Hagel, and a few others, Clinton is a darn good pick. Nominating someone who sees eye-to-eye with them on Law of the Sea Treaty  isn’t happening, so they should happily settle for someone who voted for Kyl-Lieberman and thinks direct negotiations with Ahmadinejad is a stupid idea

In the internal GOP wars, one prediction: “My guess is that the winning side in these Republican debates will be tough on illegal immigration, federal spending and Obama.” Perhaps. But in the primary, the first didn’t carry the day, and in the general election the last two were rejected, while the first was utterly ignored. I think we err by focusing on policies and platforms without context and candidates. In 2004, no one would have imagined that the next election would be won by a candidate advocating direct presidential meetings with Iran, nationalized health care, and massive new spending.

Rick Moran doesn’t much care for John McCain’s ex-pollster’s nasty words: “People who don’t take responsibility for their own failures aren’t worth spit. And there seems to be a lot of them in the McCain campaign.” I think, despite many Republican fights on many topics, there is universal agreement on that sentiment.

Al Franken is trying to “raise public doubt about an ‘undervote’ — suggesting that only machine error can explain why he received 12.2 percentage points fewer votes than did Barack Obama.” Aside from an extra candidate in the race, isn’t the explanation that Franken is an obnoxious comedian who did not pay taxes or his workers’ compensation bills and would turn the Senate into more of a circus than it already is? Really, give the good people of Minnesota some credit.

Mary Katherine Ham gets the prize for the best Mike Huckabee zinger: “Wow, this guy’s so petty, you could put him in the 43 car and call him the King.”

President Obama will need more than John McCain to maneuver around Mitch McConnell. Anyone who knows anything about the Senate knows that, when it comes to building coalitions or upending bad deals, there is no one better than the Minority Leader. And McCain’s influence with Republicans — which is his sole utility to the new President (who already has the Democrats) — has likely never been weaker. He didn’t exactly endear himself to his party in the last campaign.

The NY Post observes: “It’s déjà vu all over again for Team Clinton – and America. And it’s already prompting reminders of all the sordid affairs that attended that era. On Tuesday, for instance, it was reported that Holder would be Obama’s attorney general. As deputy AG under then-President Bill Clinton, Holder played a key role in a Clinton-era scandal: the pardoning of fugitive financier Marc Rich.” One would hope that the President-elect would know to take only the best members of the Clinton administration. But apparently all of them are coming aboard.

The Washington Post is properly concerned — calling the Rich matter a “blot” on Holder’s record. (They don’t even mention the part about Holder’s steering Rich to attorney Jack Quinn, from whom Holder was seeking a job.)

Even Arlen Specter is concerned.

Another reason to root for Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State: the striped-pants set at State doesn’t like the idea. If CIA comes out against it, we know it is a fabulous idea.

Some question why Clinton is the best the GOP could hope for at State. Given that the President-elect had been advised by the likes of John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Robert Malley, Tony McPeak, Chuck Hagel, and a few others, Clinton is a darn good pick. Nominating someone who sees eye-to-eye with them on Law of the Sea Treaty  isn’t happening, so they should happily settle for someone who voted for Kyl-Lieberman and thinks direct negotiations with Ahmadinejad is a stupid idea

In the internal GOP wars, one prediction: “My guess is that the winning side in these Republican debates will be tough on illegal immigration, federal spending and Obama.” Perhaps. But in the primary, the first didn’t carry the day, and in the general election the last two were rejected, while the first was utterly ignored. I think we err by focusing on policies and platforms without context and candidates. In 2004, no one would have imagined that the next election would be won by a candidate advocating direct presidential meetings with Iran, nationalized health care, and massive new spending.

Rick Moran doesn’t much care for John McCain’s ex-pollster’s nasty words: “People who don’t take responsibility for their own failures aren’t worth spit. And there seems to be a lot of them in the McCain campaign.” I think, despite many Republican fights on many topics, there is universal agreement on that sentiment.

Al Franken is trying to “raise public doubt about an ‘undervote’ — suggesting that only machine error can explain why he received 12.2 percentage points fewer votes than did Barack Obama.” Aside from an extra candidate in the race, isn’t the explanation that Franken is an obnoxious comedian who did not pay taxes or his workers’ compensation bills and would turn the Senate into more of a circus than it already is? Really, give the good people of Minnesota some credit.

Mary Katherine Ham gets the prize for the best Mike Huckabee zinger: “Wow, this guy’s so petty, you could put him in the 43 car and call him the King.”

President Obama will need more than John McCain to maneuver around Mitch McConnell. Anyone who knows anything about the Senate knows that, when it comes to building coalitions or upending bad deals, there is no one better than the Minority Leader. And McCain’s influence with Republicans — which is his sole utility to the new President (who already has the Democrats) — has likely never been weaker. He didn’t exactly endear himself to his party in the last campaign.

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