Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

I agree with the wish list of Meet The Press regulars who should retire, but is Ruth Marcus really a new face to shake things up?

Rather than rename the Department of Agriculture the Department of Food, why not get rid of it? (But if we are going to starting renaming things, I always liked “The War Department.”)

The Obama transparency hype is just that — hype. His “open for questions” website isn’t. At least not open to questions about Blago.

Bobby Jindal endorses Bob McDonnell, the GOP candidate for Virginia’s Governor, but says he’s not interested in the presidency in 2012. Still, it was not quite a Shermanesque statement.

House Republicans forced embattled Rep. Don Young off the Natural Resources Committee, heightening attention on Charlie Rangel. In short, “If it’s the right thing for Young, should it be the right thing for Rangel?” Nancy Pelosi has her hands full, certainly.

Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads innocence in the court of public opinion: ” I never sent a message or an emissary to the governor to make offers plead my case or propose a deal about a United States Senate seat, period . . . I thought mistakenly that the governor was evaluating me and other Senate hopefuls based on our credentials and qualifications. I did not know the process had been corrupted.” He may indeed have been utterly unaware of Blago’s scheme, but his chances for that Senate seat evaporated once he became “Senator 5.”

She’s got a point there: “That’s one thing the ‘Car Czar’ can’t fix:  the perception that the company apparently needs nearly unlimited access to government funds in order to prop up its failing operations is hardly going to restore America’s faith that its automakers make good cars.”

The Washington Post editors spot the key problem with the car bailout: “A weakness of the proposal, however, is that it does not spell out the actual concessions to be made. We don’t see how the companies can ensure their viability unless creditors convert much of their debt to equity — and the UAW both takes equity in lieu of payments to its retiree health fund and surrenders its current wage and benefit advantage over nonunion foreign-owned factories. This shortcoming should be addressed as the bill makes its way through a skeptical House and Senate.”

Is it bribery or horsetrading to swap a Senate seat for a cabinet post? Eugene Volokh says it may be hard to tell. (h/t Ed Whelan)

Tim Pawlenty geometrically increased his appeal with the base by telling Sens. Reid and Schumer to “butt out” of the Minnesota Senate recount. That, and the test scores of Minnesota school kids, should give him some talking points out on the stump.

Seven really good questions for the President-elect on Blago-gate. (I’ve got one more: “Will you replace Patrick Fitzgerald?”) Let’s see if the MSM will ask them, and if he refuses to answer whether they hound him and his aides the way they did the Bush team during the Valerie Plame matter.

Wow– this is the most successful GOP gathering in years. Princella Smith, who got 150 young and minority Republicans to turn out on a Tuesday night, seems to have more political skill than most of the candidates for Chariman of the RNC. Maybe she should run.

Rep. Zach Wamp gets it right: “The word ‘bailout’ is now so rancid to the American public that even reasonable compromises are not likely to be approved. The rescue plan from October did not meet expectations and was not administered well.” It did get through the House, but the Republicans in the Senate seem ready to put a halt to it.

Grover Norquist prefers poetry: “Should we support this iteration of the bailout? The answer reads like the first part of  ‘Green Eggs and Ham. ‘ No.” ‘Not in a box or with a fox.'” (Which reminds me that Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! is the appropriate guide for Blagojevich.)

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