Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

Is “sorry” enough for Tom Daschle? “I think sorry starts to disintegrate whenever it accompanies three digits left of the comma.” And when you’re the second, not the first, tax cheat nominee “sorry” wears thin.

David Brooks explains the cockeyed ethical rules of the governing class according to which “the federal government is permitted to throw hundreds of billions of dollars around on a misguided bank bailout, but if a banker like John Thain spends $1,500 on a wastepaper basket then all hell breaks loose.”

It is not the “vetting” –it’s the judgment. The President ultimately decided to go forward with Bill Richardson (before he had to then yank him), Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle. But the media cheerleaders can’t quite bring themselves to blame the boss.

Yikes- whatever happened to the era of bipartisanship? “Forty-two percent (42%) of U.S. voters say President Barack Obama is governing on a bipartisan basis while 39% say he is governing as a partisan Democrat.” This is after two weeks.

Fred Barnes says we’ve been learning a lot: “We learned President Obama, who ardently wooed Republicans, is more charming than he is persuasive. We learned Republicans, though they can’t win a vote, can win an argument. We learned the stimulus bill is too big, too porky, and hardly stimulative at all. And we learned Nancy Pelosi, the aggressively partisan House speaker, is by her own admission really and truly “non-partisan.” Let’s hope the Republicans don’t have short memories.

MSNBC is doing a worse job than usual concealing its anti-Republican agenda.

It’s official: Judd Gregg leaves the Senate — and the Republicans teetering on the brink of losing their filibuster. If I had given him campaign money, I’d be asking for 1/3 of it back.

The Blue Dogs yelp about Nancy Pelosi’s dictatorial rule changes.

Now there is an issue with the Labor Secretary nominee. I am sure she is terribly sorry and all will be forgiven. Maybe that’s how all Obama cabinet nominees should begin their confirmation hearing – with a nice boilerplate apology.

Good advice from Megan McArdle on the stimulus: “There are better ways to assist the unemployed than to build a bridge we don’t need.  If a project won’t ‘pay’ for itself, then it should be justified on its own terms, not packaged into a stimulus so that politicians don’t have to explain their choices to the American people.” But if the real purpose of the bill is not to jolt the economy but simply to grow the government it makes perfect sense.

You gotta love the way the Gallup poll questions on Obama’s agenda are framed. It is “making it easier for workers to sue for employment discrimination.” (The Lilly Ledbetter statute.) What about “removing any statute of limitations and letting relatives of employees sue the employers”? Makes a difference. But however you word it, people don’t like closing Guantanamo and lifting restrictions on funding international groups which provide abortion services.

If Democrats aren’t bothered by Tom Daschle’s tax cheating shouldn’t they be bothered by his ties to the health care industry? It’s easy: rendition, tax cheating, and the revolving door are fine for Democrats.

Things have gotten so bad even the New York Times has stopped running interference for the Obama administration: “During almost two years on the campaign trail, Barack Obama vowed to slay the demons of Washington, bar lobbyists from his administration and usher in what he would later call in his Inaugural Address a ‘new era of responsibility.’ What he did not talk much about were the asterisks.The exceptions that went unmentioned now include a pair of cabinet nominees who did not pay all of their taxes. Then there is the lobbyist for a military contractor who is now slated to become the No. 2 official in the Pentagon. And there are the others brought into government from the influence industry even if not formally registered as lobbyists.”

But alas the Washington Post editors can’t bring themselves to deny President Obama his pick despite chewing him out for his success in ”parlay[ing] public service into private-sector wealth” which was “the sort of thing Mr. Obama criticized on the campaign trail.” So President Obama has every right to be a hypocrite?

Man bites dog: Mel Martinez isn’t going to leave his seat early to slip in a new Republican Senator from Florida.