Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

Mickey Kaus reminds us that the Left’s flacks aren’t very polite and don’t really believe in free expression by liberal bloggers. To paraphrase Henry Kissinger, Leftist internal politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.

Megan McArdle finds the idea of Caroline Kennedy as Senator “embarrassing.” More than that really: “But this goes beyond that into a zone previously occupied only by the inventors of Pepsi Clear.  We fought a whole war and everything to get away from political dynasties.  Why are so many brain dead boomers avid to reinstall the talentless byblows of their bygone youth?” I guess because they are brain dead boomers.

Her colleague Ross Douthat lands a low blow: “ It’s not the safest seat in the country, but it’s safe enough that almost any Democrat, once appointed, could expect to be “elected again and again,” with or without the Kennedy mystique. Which is all the more reason to pick somebody more impressive than America’s Princess for what’s probably a long-term job – to look for the next Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in other words, rather than the next Lincoln Chafee.”

Patrick Fitzgerald puts a crimp in Blago’s impeachment proceedings. Blago might be in office for quite some time. And Illinois isn’t getting a second senator any time soon.

And neither is Minnesota.

An interesting interview with John McCain. Apparently the highlight of his campaign overseas was his concession speech. Here too. And he finally gets awfully steamed about Sarah Palin’s treatment.

I’m reminded that Ted Kennedy has already let it be known that he wants his wife to take his seat should he pass away during his term. Listen, I think one hereditary seat per dynasty is quite enough — Massachusetts or New York, but not both! (Yeah, they can keep the Rhode Island House seat because Patrick actually ran for office and won the it.)

The New York Times focuses on the Valerie Jarrett conversation with SEIU official Tom Balanoff. Aside from questions of criminal exposure, what’s a labor union doing trying to broker a deal for a senate seat? Not a good vignette if you are attempting to make the case that Big Labor needs more power and influence in government.

Next time you start complaining about holiday traffic or crowded malls, remember this beautiful Christmas story.

Thomas Friedman hopes for the best on the trillion dollar bailout: “It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and engineers, paying for research and building the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white elephants. Generally, I’d like to see fewer government dollars shoveled out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to catalyze new industries and new markets. If we allow this money to be spent on pork, it will be the end of us.” But I thought billions and billions of bailout money is going to “shovel-ready” projects– lots and lots and lots of them. I suspect Friedman isn’t going to get the high-tech, pro-green bailout he’s wishing for.

And sure enough the Washington Post reports: “In one of the first internal struggles of the incoming Obama administration, environmentalists and smart-growth advocates are trying to shift the priorities of the economic stimulus plan that will be introduced in Congress next month away from allocating tens of billions of dollars to highways, bridges and other traditional infrastructure spending to more projects that create ‘green-collar’ jobs.” I’m betting on the less useful “shovel-ready” ones. Why? “The largest beneficiary of the shovel-ready construction projects are labor unions.” Well, that answers that.

Speaking of which, the UAW doesn’t want to give up anything to save GM and Chrysler. Yeah, not one red cent to help restore their employers’ viability! I wonder why the UAW chieftan didn’t make that clear before President Bush caved on a toothless bailout. Hmm. We’ll see if President Obama has the nerve to stare down his Big Labor patrons.