Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

The best way to avoid joining ”the vast, heaving O-phoria now sweeping the coastal haut-bourgeoisie” is to avoid writing columns which mimic “the vast, heaving O-phoria now sweeping the coastal haut-bourgeoisie.” Better yet, ask some interesting questions! (Why would the President-elect would select someone as ethically challenged as Eric Holder? Why do we have an HHS nominee before a Treasury Secretary pick?). And be bold — step out of the echo chamber!

Others share my amusement at the infatuation with academic credentials. What ever happened to: “I would rather be governed by the first hundred names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty”?

File this away for the vote on the bill to ban secret ballot union elections: “Rep. Louise Slaughter, New York Democrat, earlier in the week expressed relief her vote in the Dingell-Waxman conflict would not be public. ‘It’s a secret ballot, thank the Lord,’ she told Congressional Quarterly.”

One endeavor by the the President-elect every American can get behind — the 2016 Olympics in Chicago. And Mitt Romney could run it! (After he fixes the car companies.)

Gary Bauer methodically eviscerates  Mike Huckabee and ends jauntily: “After he is finished attacking all those who he thinks denied him the GOP nomination, I look forward to working with him to reform the GOP and revitalize the conservative movement.”

Jeffrey Goldberg is counting on Hillary Clinton to pull off a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal. Conservatives are banking on her being smart enough to realize there is no deal remotely possible right now. We’ll find out who’s right soon enough.

“An influential psychiatrist who was the host of the popular NPR program ‘The Infinite Mind’ earned at least $1.3 million from 2000 to 2007 giving marketing lectures for drugmakers, income not mentioned on the program.” Now that’s a conflict of interest not even the Obama transition team could spin.

The light goes on in Detroit: “Members of General Motors Corp.’s board of directors are willing to consider ‘all options’ for the ailing auto maker, including an eventual filing for bankruptcy protection, a stance that puts them in rare disagreement with Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner. . .” Hmm, do you think it might have something to do with bankruptcy courts’ predilection for firing management?

General James L. Jones at NSC? Sure — if you don’t think artificial deadlines in Iraq were/are a good idea. I’m getting the feeling the Obama national security picks might be as good as John McCain’s. Well, close at least — and certainly more easily confirmed.

Here’s a political lesson: Bill “Judas” Richardson, who through his support to candidate Barack Obama after serving for years with the Clintons, is heading for Commerce, while Hillary Clinton gets the plum job at Foggy Bottom. After all is said and done, “loyalty” counts for very little– it is what can you do for me (or to me) that carries the day. It might have a tiny bit to do with competence as well.