Category Archives: Uncategorized

At the risk…

…of propagating the missives of history’s leading b.s. artist, we present the following from Karl Rove’s most recent column.

As the president’s numbers begin to turn, quoth the evil genius, “Mr. Obama is dropping his high minded rhetoric and instead trying to scare voters…. This is not a healthy way to wage a policy debate.”

Er, thanks, Karl. Wouldn’t want to wage a policy debate by scaring voters.

Resolution

A week ago (-ish), Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates locked himself out of his own house, and tried to break in. The neighbors saw a black guy trying to break into a big house in Cambridge, Mass., and called 9-11. When the cop showed up, Gates was bellicose, so the cop put Gates in cuffs. When the president was asked about the cop’s behavior at a press conference, he called it “stupid.”

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s one strike against Gates for bawling out a cop just doing his job, one strike against the cop for arresting a guy in his own house without a warrant, and one strike against the president for calling a public servant “stupid” on primetime TV.

How to solve this sticky wicket? Beer.

The Blog thinks Gates is doing the right thing by using this sitchu to make racism a topic of public discussion. The Blog also feels bad for the cop. Gates refused to let him in, and he doesn’t know whether there’s an actual burglar hiding in the basement that Gates just hasn’t found yet. He did what he had to do to make sure everything was as it should be, which is his job, and the president called him “stupid.”

And it’s not every day the leader of the free world admits a mistake and invites the interested parties over for a beer to talk the whole thing out. It’s not exactly the UN Charter, but it’s a strategy that could help foster peace in our time.

Updates from the road

Howdy, dear reader. The Blog, as you may know, is on the road. But we’re still reading, and thought you might want to read some of the most interesting pieces we’ve found.

With that in mind, we’ll occasionally post links to articles we hope will inspire your consideration, or even a little debate in the comments section. As you find interesting articles in your own reading, we hope you’ll post them, too.

For starters, the WSJ’s Peggy Noonan has a superb reflection on how conservatives should understand Mrs. Palin’s departure.

Ann Gerhart of the Washington Post has a helpful guide to what happened at the Sotomayor hearings beyond the interview itself.

And Tom Friedman of the New York Times discusses what we’re leaving behind in Iraq.

We hope you’re well, dear reader. Let us hear from you occasionally. Happy reading.

The Blog is Out

The Blog is off this week, dear reader. We’ll return next week with coverage of Sister Sonia, the speech, and more. If you’re interested in what the Blog is up to, check our sister blog.

Enjoy your week!

In a Mirror, Dimly

The Wrap: Monday, Monday

The government-wide round of musical chairs is slowing.

 

Yesterday, the president-elect introduced his national security team with no surprises. He will nominate Sen. Clinton to State, Gov. Napolitano to DHS, Eric Holder to State, and Susan Rice to the UN, and retain Sec. Gates at DoD. He also chose Jim Jones as National Security Adviser. Not that Jim Jones. Jim Jones, USMC.

 

Think about what these nominations tell us: does Obama want diplomacy front and center? Will he pay more attention to genocide than his predecessor? Does he want a National Security Adviser who inspires a smidgen of fear in the rest of the bureaucracy?

 

If you’re struggling to get your B-Rock/hip hop fix, The Blog hereby obliges. Speaking of which, B-Rock’s homeboy Luda is stumping for Jim Martin. The GOP answers with Gov. Palin, who can’t decide which office she wants most (hint: it’s not the Alaska governorship).

 

 

Top 5

Newsweek: “Wanted: A Grand New Strategy” by Fareed Zakaria.

 

Wall Street Journal: “Keeping the Change at Defense” by Gerald Seib.

 

Economist: “Head of State” by Lexington.

 

Los Angeles Times: “Obama’s Inaugural Oath,” Editorial.

 

Politico: “5 Things the War Cabinet Says About Obama” by Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen.

 

Feature: In a Mirror, Dimly

While President Bush drums his fingers across his Oval Office desk waiting for moving day, he is beginning to gander back at his tenure. Recently, he confided a few insights to ABC News’ Charlie Gibson:

 

“I was unprepared for war.”

 

“I wished the intelligence [on Iraq] had been different.”

 

“The tone in Washington got worse, not better.”

 

Some of these observations may be confirmed by history. But as we look back at the Bush years, a twin fascination begins to circulate: what will President Obama’s exit interviews say? Many Americans (perhaps, say, 44 percent) fear the answers will be similar: unprepared, poorly informed, partisan.

 

There are many reasons to believe otherwise: during the campaign, Obama embodied a different set of descriptors: eloquent, inspirational, focused.

 

That was a change. But it’s not enough.

 

President Bush’s comments came from eight frustrating years. We’re fighting two wars, our economy is in freefall, and most Americans feel we’re headed in the wrong direction. We have a glimpse of what Obama hopes will be different eight years from now: clean energy, even diplomacy, cheap healthcare.

 

That would be change. But it’s not enough.

 

Obama’s recent hires (as noted above) tell us about how he will go about turning America around. Government will be more open. Defense policy will prize steadiness. Reaganomics will be run out of town on a rail.

 

This is change, to be sure, but it’s not enough. That’s because the change we heard so much about during the campaign has little to do with President Bush or President Obama. Instead, it’s about us.

 

****

 

A friend of The Blog wondered this over the recent holiday: in eight years, will we still see Obama t-shirts? Maybe. The Blog still sees garb which reads “Vote Carter in ’76: He’ll Work for Peanuts.”

 

But what’s more important is whether the ideas which energized so many voters on November 4 will stick with us. What will we do to improve our families, our communities, our world?

 

As you wait for inauguration day, dear reader, don’t just play tiddlywinks on the Truman Balcony or go squirrel hunting on the South Lawn. Look back: how did we get here? Look forward: where do we want to go?

 

But above all, ask: what will I do to make sure we get there?

 

On Deck: Now What?

All the big jobs have been filled, so the president-elect has to start, y’know, running the country. Only problem: he’s not president yet.

 

In the meantime, Obama is planning a stimulus package with Congress, to be ready for his signature on Day One. He’s mulling a proposal to lend Detroit a hand. And he’s scrawling out an executive order mandating a college football playoff. Now THAT’s the change we need.

 

While he busies himself thus, Georgians will choose a Senator. Today, Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin face off in the last Senate race of 2008. Counting continues (still) in Minnesota.

Movement of the People

The Wrap: Guess Who’s Coming to Cabinet Meetings?

This week, the president-elect has settled on several cabinet selections, including Janet Napolitano at DHS, Bill Richardson at Commerce, Tom Daschle at HHS, and Tim Geithner at Treasury. Plus, one other little-noticed choice. More on the cabinet in this week’s Feature.

 

Also this week: CEOs of the Big Three asked for some scratch to stay afloat. There are arguments on both sides, but who asks for money right after they step off their G5? This is political tee-ball, and these guys struck out.

Secretary of Lip Fur Sam Elliot

Secretary of Lip Fur Sam Elliot

 

 

The Waxman Revolt reached a successful conclusion. This is gratifying for the blog, which maintains a firm pro-mustache stance.

 

Finally, this reminder: death comes to us all. It just might come quicker now.

 

Top 5

The Washington Post: “Bumpy Road Ahead for a Traveler” by David Ignatius.

 

The New York Times: “An Old Hometown Mentor, and Still at Obama’s Side” by Jodi Kantor.

 

Newsweek: “A Path out of the Woods” by Fareed Zakaria

 

Economist: “A Reassuring Figure for Treasury.”

 

A Proclamation” by Abraham Lincoln.

 

Special bonus: “A Proclamation” by Gov. William Cross

 

Feature: Movement of the People

We Americans are a restless bunch. From pioneering the West to “Giddy Up 409,” from landing at Plymouth Rock to landing on the moon, we are a people in perpetual motion. That’s why this weekend brought such relief.

 

Nine weeks ago, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, setting off the current financial crisis. Since, the most powerful person in government has been someone we did not elect. It chafes at our notions of self-government and self-reliance. We have felt leaderless, but worse, we have felt stagnant.

 

The president-elect, to his credit, has scrupulously avoided the spotlight to avoid stepping on the current president’s toes. But by Friday, Obama (and we) could wait no longer. When he leaked cabinet appointments, they weren’t just job hires, they were pronouncements: Bill Richardson will get American goods selling. Hillary Clinton will rebuild our global relationships. Tim Geithner will get our finances in order. It finally feels like we’re moving again.

 

****

 

It probably won’t last. Campaigns, when done right, feel like movements. As the junior senator from Illinois, then as Democratic Party nominee, Obama was all about motion. His campaign moved at a breakneck pace. He opened his mouth and lifted whole buildings right off the ground. There was revolution in the air, right through Election Night.

 

Governing is stickier. With the first images of what Obama’s presidency will look like, we’re already coming back to Earth. The griping has begun: Larry Summers dislikes women. Eric Holder let a fraud out of jail. More than once in the past week, the blog has wondered how different the cabinet would look if the Clintons had won the presidency.

 

The hiring critiques were compounded by earlier miscues. Details of Obama’s conversations with President Bush leaked. His introduction to India did not go well. Nobody is satisfied with their inauguration seats, and if you don’t think that matters in Washington, you haven’t been to Washington.

 

The Obama momentum, in which many of us invested so heavily, feels like it’s slowing, partly because the man himself has taken a step back, but also because the steps forward don’t feel strident enough.

 

On November 4th we were being led by a pillar of fire On November 5th we were wandering in the desert again. There’s an extended metaphor to be had here about the mountaintop and Canaan and milk and honey (the blog leaves that extrapolation to you, dear reader). Suffice it to say, the desert is something you pass through on the way to the Promised Land; for us, there’s more than enough reason for hope.

 

****

 

The immediate lesson is patience, grasshopper. Barack Obama will lift our hopes sometimes, and disappoint us other times. Presidencies often mature slowly, but change is coming.

 

There’s a lesson for the president-elect, too. A philosopher once said, “Life isn’t about how hard you can hit—it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” That’s certainly what a presidency is all about.

 

Both these lessons are rooted in trust. We must trust our judgment that Barack Obama can set our nation aright. He must trust himself, the people who love him, and in providence. We’ll get moving again, together.

 

On Deck: Being Thankful

The Obama team might as well photocopy the same press briefing sheet every day: “No public events are scheduled for today.” With the holiday this week, don’t too many Obama sightings. It takes time to adjust to being president. Plus, next week figures to be busy.

 

In the meantime, counting continues in Minnesota and campaigning continues in Georgia, featuring the return of a blog favorite.

 

But politics is taking the week off. You should too, dear reader. Get your grub on, nap ferociously, and if you’re traveling, travel safely.

 

Finally, in celebration of the season, the blog leaves you with a little gift. Happy Thanksgiving.

Election Day

Good morning, dear reader! It’s Tuesday, November 4th: Election Day.

 

The blog’s most recent post made a final argument for the junior senator from Illinois. Today, our first post brings you the best of pre-election news.

 

For campaign synopses, check out Adrian Wooldridge’s “Lexington” column in the Economist, David Broder in the Post, Charlie Cook in National Journal, and the WSJ Ed Board.

 

For a good preview of how today might progress across the country, try the Post’s overview. For a good viewing guide, try this from the Times.

 

More to come throughout the day. Stay tuned!