Public Policy, Hot and Fresh
This morning, at around 7:00 AM, Cosmo started barking. But it wasn’t his usual “squirts in the wire!” (Trans: “Squirrels inside the perimeter”) bark. I went to the door to see what the rumpus was. A fresh copy — hot off the presses — of the Public Interest was at my door. The PI has long been one of my favorite publications (I used to hang out with the editors when I was at AEI). Anyway, I just thought it was kind of funny to have a quarterly public policy journal delivered to my house like it was a bag of fresh bread from the bakery. Thank goodness it got here today!
By the way, it does look like a great issue, including a lead piece by James Ceaser on “The Genealogy of Anti-Americanism” and a tease of Charles Murray’s new book, which some of us have been waiting for for a very long time.
Tomorrow morning the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on William H. Pryor, Jr., Attorney General for the State of Alabama, and nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Pryor’s conservative record has the usual suspects in a tizzy. People for the American Way just released a 43-page report condemning Pryor for, among other things, successfully advancing federalism before the Supreme Court — a state AG advancing federalism, imagine that! — and daring to speak “approvingly” of 5-4 decisions upholding federalist principles (Gasp!). Additional attacks are sure to follow in the next twenty-four hours, as liberal interest groups hope to lay the gruondwork for a strict party line vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
For updates of all-things-Pryor, check out Southern Appeal; past SA posts on Pryor are listed here. Also worth reading is Douglas Kmiec’s defense of Pryor in the WSJ, and Michael Greve’s NRO article from last week (see the section “Let Pryor Be Pryor”).
Just a Thought About Martha
The case has been made that Martha Stewart is being unfairly pursued and prosecuted (see, for instance, Alan Reynolds). But one of the complaints made is that it is because she is a woman. (Reynolds does not make this case, but assorted pundits throw it out on the taking-heads shows.) How about: The media, at least (I would not play with this theory as being the prosecution’s motivation), are no fans, because she’s making money off a conglomerate that, face it, is largely used by women, to do things that women traditionally, and largely, do. Sure, guys might use the magazine for this or that, and there are exceptions and all, but still, the generalization, I think, is still a reality. And, it might have something to do with the fact that not too many of Martha Stewart’s fellow elite Democrats are crying tears for her. (Some, actually, are downright hostile to their successful sister.) Anyway, I toyed with this idea a little last year here.)
Let’S Say Hillary Is Telling The Truth
From an e-mailer:
Over the past several days, print and TV pundits from the left and the right have been squaring off over HRC’s account of the Lewinsky scandal. The focus has invariably been on whether Hillary is telling the truth when she says that she didn’t know/believe that Bill had had “relations” with Monica until he sat her down and told her. But one thing has gone unmentioned. What if she IS telling the truth?
Wouldn’t that speak volumes about Hillary’s capacity for rational judgment? Isn’t a person’s inability to draw a rational conclusion in the face of mountains of historical evidence at least as probative of their fitness for higher office as their honesty?
I suspect people see Hillary as too smart to actually have fallen for Bill’s lies, and that’s part of the reason that they immediately seized on the implausibility of her story. But if she wants to confess that she was a monumental dupe, I’ll take her at her word and conclude that she lacks the skill and acumen necessary for leading this country.
Vrwc: Back@The Scene of The Crime
In the Katie interview the Today Show is rolling out this week in installments, when asked if she stands by her Vast-Right-Wing Conspiracy, HILLARY said, “I might have used a more artful term….” It’s not really a conspiracy, because they’re (we’re) not hidden, but there is a there there on the right.
My new media analysis column examines the resignations at the New York Times and how the Times needs to change. Plus Maureen Dowd’s non-correction correction, coverage of Microsoft, and trans fats.
Re: Livingston, I Presume
John – Of course you’re right and I should have mentioned that aspect of things too. Then again, I did say cynicism is always required for everything the Clintons do.
Livingston, I Presume
Jonah: You may be right about Clinton’s motivations regarding the Livingston resignation, but I think something else may have been at work as well: Livingston would have been damaged goods as Speaker of the House. This is also the reason why James Carville and other Dem hacks, in the latter days of the Lott controversy, suggested that he ought to keep his job. They understood that Majority Leader Lott was better for them than Majority Leader Frist.
Devil of a Time
Congrats to the New Jersey Devils for their Stanley Cup victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks last night. Must admit I was pulling for the Ducks, partly out of Western Conference loyalties (odd as it may seem to non-hockey fans, anything to the left of Pittsburgh on a map of North America is in the NHL’s “west”–it’s like the University of Michigan fight song: “Champions of the West!”). I was also drawn to Anaheim’s Cinderella story, which was probably even more of a surprise than the Anaheim Angels winning the World Series last fall. Most important, though, is that we were treated to some fine hockey–including the spectacle of a seventh game in the finals. The Devils prevailed, amid some great stories, including the remarkable playoff performance of Ducks goalie J.S. Giguere and the Devils’ game-winning goal from unlikely hero Mike Rupp, a guy who hadn’t suited up for most of the playoffs. As usual, the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora has an excellent summary of how the Devils made it happen.
As I Suspected
The Times confirms that Hillary’s book is boring twaddle.
Clinton and Raines
In the wake of the news that Bill Clinton tried to stop Raines from resigning, Andrew Sullivan writes:
CLINTON KNEW: One thing the former president understands is power, and he knew full well that the resignation of Howell Raines at the NYT could hurt Democrats. The news might not be spun as ruthlessly as in the past; the campaign against the Bush administration under the guise of news coverage might not be as relentless; and so, apparently, Clinton intervened. This story, Clinton reminds us, wasn’t just about journalism. At a deeper level it was also about politics; and Clinton wanted to protect a huge victory that the left had won with Raines’ advancement. He lost. Journalism won.
I applaud Andrew’s cynicism. After all, cynicism is always warranted when discussing the Clintons. And, I think Sullivan’s probably right. But I can’t shake another angle. Clinton does not believe in personal responsibility in the conventional sense. He believes character is a “journey not a destination.” He claimed to run the most ethical administration in history (stop laughing) but he never punished anyone who acted unethically. With the exception of the forced Lewinsky apologies, when he’s sorry it’s never because he did anything really wrong. His mistakes are always the product of his virtues: he “cared too much” to compromise is one of his preferred refrains. Or, his apologies are the product of the other side’s venality. “I underestimated how determined the Right was to turn back the clock and deprive Americans of their rights and health care. I’m deeply sorry.” (These aren’t direct quotes, but if you watched any of his post presidency interviews they’re pretty much what he says).
Also, Bill Clinton is deeply invested in the idea that personal responsibility is something you verbally “take” in order to seem decent but not something that involves actually doing anything. Remember how opposed he was to Bob Livingston actually relinquishing power when he got caught doing less than what Clinton did?
So, perhaps Bill Clinton believes that Howell Raines shouldn’t face any real consequences because that simply runs against the grain of everything Bill Clinton stands for?
The reliably arrogant British Medical Association is now suggesting that a ‘fat tax’ be levied on fine foods such as “sausages, pies and pastries”. As usual in such cases, this piece of presumption is justified on the grounds that it will save the taxpayer-funded National Health Service money and as usual in such cases it appears to take no account of the fact that, in dying prematurely, the obese are rather generously saving the state the expense of paying years of retirement benefit. For those, such as the busybodies at the BMA, who choose to stress the economic argument, the model citizen ought surely to be someone who works, pays taxes and then drops dead on his or her retirement day. An overweight individual is more likely to manage this splendidly patriotic feat than some lunatic in running shoes.
More than that, however, this piece of bossiness is a reminder that, when it comes to the doctor-patient relationship, the BMA (like the equally repellent AMA) has lost its way. Hippocrates had nothing to say about the imposition of penal taxation on his patients’ mealtime choices, and nor should his 21st Century successors. The role of a doctor is to give advice, not orders. The BMA should just go and take a hike.
Or better still relax on the sofa in front of the telly with a nice pork pie and some chicken-flavored crisps.