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Showing posts from February, 2008

Bill Buckley

Liberals have always had a problem with Bill Buckley,
though it is not what many suppose. He was a very
engaging man. And I mean every word of that sentence.

The first thing you noticed about him was his joy; it
streamed from his eyes; it flashed in his smile. And
joy, as C.S. Lewis reminds us, is the talisman of a
sentient and grateful being. To be under the
grace of God is to be joyful.

That Bill was engaging no one will deny. And here was
the problem that liberals fortunate enough to be
counted among his friends struggled with for as long
as God permitted him to remain among us: When he and
his wife, Pat, invited you into their home, you
partook of their friendship, and Bill's capacity for
friendship was as large as his capacity for joy. His
assault on the heart was irresistible.

For liberals who wanted to preserve the pinata they
treasured in their minds whenever they summoned up a
conservative for flogging, this was a problem. Try to
imagine a furnace in which all the petty vices of life
are b…

HSA, RATIONAL ALTERNATIVE FOR HEALTH CARE

Congressional efforts to pass S-CHIP in this, the second most important issue in the election, continue to fail. At the state level, one after another the states are finding the cost more than their budgets can tolerate. Among the presidential candidates, the subject, if it comes up, is Hillarycare: universal, probably single payer—failures where it is used.. “I can think of parallels in wartime, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime history for such broad and centralized control over a sector of the economy,” the Wall Street Journal editorialized on February 2-3.

Discussion of alternatives does not exist. The public is led to believe that universal is the only kind. The best alternatives, Health Savings Accounts and FEHBP (Federal Employes Health Benefit Program), are not even mentioned. HSA introduces motivation. Not a third party, but the patient, pays the bills. HSA is permitted in all but four states.

The large corporations that pay the health-ca…

A Barack and Bill Ticket Would Leave Dodd in Nowheresville

The first rat to leave the Clinton’s sinking ship was David Wilhelm. US Sen. Chris Dodd has now joined those leaping off the burning deck of the USS Clinton, according to the Hartford Courant.

“[Dodd's]support of Obama may clash with his longtime friendship with the Clintons. After the Republicans swept into Congress on a "Contract with America" wave in 1994, President Clinton picked Dodd as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

“Some pundits had even guessed that Dodd would be a possible vice presidential choice for Hillary Clinton.”

As always in politics, the question arises, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Since Barrack Obama has staked out a political position even further to the left of that of Dodd, he will be fetching around for a moderate Democrat as Vice President, so as to garner more votes from moderate Democrats and Republicans in the general election. A good choice might be Sen. Joe Lieberman, the last moderate Democrat standing in his party.

Or, if…

The Times on Barack Obama

Gerard Baker of the Times – No,no, not the New York Times, but the Times of London
– weighs in on Barack Obama and the eternal question: Have we become France?

“There is a caste of left-wing Americans who wish essentially and in all honesty that their country was much more like France. They wish it had much higher levels of taxation and government intervention, that it had much higher levels of welfare, that it did not have such a “militaristic” approach to foreign policy. Above all, that its national goals were dictated, not by the dreadful halfwits who inhabit godforsaken places like Kansas and Mississippi, but by the counsels of the United Nations.

“Though Mr Obama has done a good job, as all recent serious Democrats have done, of emphasizing his belief in American virtues, his record and his programme suggest he is firmly in line with this wing of his party…

"He wants to tax the rich more to pay for [the programs he favors]. He is against companies using the opportunities of fr…

Another Wrinkle in Time Enters the Democrat Battle for the Little Guy

Those on the left who love words should love Ralph Nader. He’s very wordy. But they don’t.

Reacting to Nader's announcement that he plans to run for president on the Democrat ticket -- again -- Barack Obama said, "He [Nader] thought that there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush and, eight years later, I think people realize that Ralph did not know what he was talking about.”

Hillary Clinton thought Nader’s entry into the race was "very unfortunate." As a woman of some experience, Clinton said, "I remember when he ran before. It didn't turn out very well for anybody -- especially our country. This time I hope it doesn't hurt anyone. I can't think of anybody that would vote for Sen. McCain who would vote for Ralph Nader."

Once a spoiler, always a spoiler.

Nader thinks of himself as an revivified Thomas Jefferson: "A Jeffersonian revolution is needed in this country.”

Momentous changes in U.S. history, Nader said, have been advanced…

Raul, On With the Revolution

The world, or at least that part of it that reads the New York Times, was shocked today when it was announced that Raul Castro – brother dearest, who introduced Fidel to communism – has taken command of Cuba in the wake of Fidel’s near death experience. Raul is expected to continue to provoke the freedom loving people of the United States of America until he too turns up a corpse, which should not take long, according to respected actuaries; Castro’s brother, very nearly an animated corpse himself, though he is said to be a pragmatist (like William James), is pushing 78. Waiting in the wings are Castro’s sons; the head of Fidel’s secret police, the honorable Gen. Abelardo Colomé Ibarra, the Cuban revolution’s Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria; and the promise of science, communist style, which holds out the possibility that a cutting from Lenin’s beard may be used to revive his corpse, giving birth to a new and henceforth immortal leader of the world-wide communist revolution. Lenin is dead;…

McCain vs Keller of the New York Times

Q: The initial story in the New York Times centering upon John McCain’s purported affair with…

A: Wait, wait, wait. Let’s get it right. The affair was more than purported. It was reported in the Times, however obliquely. And that was the center of the story. All the other “news” in the story, most of it rehashed, was clustered around that volcanic charge. The Times was widely understood as asserting that there was an affair, and all the other reports and insinuations and gossip that followed that story was grounded in the certainty that McCain had an affair.

Q: Okay, I got that. And you’re asserting that there was no affair.

A: No, I’m not. But that’s the beauty of dirt: If you throw enough of it, some will stick – stick, not stain. McCain has denied an affair occurred, so has the woman. The editor of Newsweek, familiar with most of the details concerning the run-up to the story, says his journalistic rectitude would not have permitted him to run the story. The charge ventilated by the T…

Castro We Hardly Knew Ya

Communist dictator Fidel Castro’s non-obituary is beginning to appear in newspapers, now that he has officially surrendered his position as president of Cuba.

Castro held the position, bayonet in hand, ever since he seized power in Cuba on New Year’s Day, 1959. The communist dynasty now falls to his brother Raul, 76 years young.

Despite keystone cop like attempts to remove the now ailing dictator and relieve Cuba of its incubus, the most serious of which was President John Kennedy’s Bay of Pig’s fiasco, Castro’s Cuba has been relatively free of the usual plots and mayhem associated with communist regimes.

Other communist leaders were not so lucky. Trotsky died at the hands of an assassin sent to Mexico by Stalin, who dispatched the war hero and party theoretician with a hatchet. Stalin, “the Breaker of Nations,” authorized the Great Purge of 1937-39, which eliminated opposition from the Old Bolsheviks, and anyone else he thought might oppose his steely will. Stalin himself was poisoned b…

Hillary and the Correlation of Forces

Over at National Review, conservatives are stumping for Hillary Clinton as the Democrat nominee for president, but the leftists aren’t so sure: “Liberal op-ed writers and disenchanted former Clintonites aren’t huge voting blocs. But they are a symptom of what will be an enduring problem for Hillary. If she wins, she will have to regain support from the party elites. She will have to court affluent liberals, the nostalgic Ted Kennedy crowd, and African-Americans. She already had a problem with the left-wing ‘netroots,’ many of whom have long considered her a sellout over the Iraq War. She went to the Yearly Kos convention — where she was booed — and will be obliged to do much more to repair those relationships. MoveOn.org, the liberal outfit originally organized to defend the Clintons from their series of scandals, has endorsed Barack Obama. The closely contested primary means that Hillary will be wooing the most liberal constituencies among her party’s die-hards just when she would li…

In the Terrorist Network, All Roads Lead To Iran

It used to be said, when the Roman Empire was still a going concern, that all roads lead to Rome. In the same way it might be said that, in the age of Mughniyeh, all terrorist networks lead to Iran.

“Mughniyeh's legacy,” Caroline Glick writes in a stunning retrospective of the terrorist network, “is not simply a laundry list of massacre and torture. It is the nexus of global terror. While it is a great thing that he is dead, it must be understood that his death is insufficient. Hundreds of thousands converged in Beirut to celebrate his life's work. The West must understand the significance of that work and unite to destroy it - layer after layer.”

The Return Of The Smoke Filled Back Room

Campaign reformists may have thought that they had saved democratic politics from the sweaty men in the smoke filled back rooms when primaries were instituted to clip their influence. But the smoke filled back room – minus the smoke, of course -- is back.

In pre-primary days, party tickets were fashioned by party delegates in state and national conventions, but the deciders were party bosses, usually state and national party chairmen allied with political shakers and movers.

Then came primaries, and the backroom boys gave way to new movers and shakers. Primaries were supposed to put party voters in the catbird seat.

Then came, open primaries, in which non-party members were permitted to shape the party ticket and campaign finance reform, followed by the general dissolution of political parties. The result of all this reforming may be seen most dramatically in the failed presidential campaign of Connecticut’s US Sen. Chris Dodd.

Dodd, who never garnered more than 2% of the vote in his bid …

The Coming Recession

It’s always nice to know that bi-partisanship in the U.S. Congress is not dead. Congressional Republicans and Democrats have come together to “stimulate” an economy they have been throttling throughout the administration of George Bush, without vigorous protest, it might be added, by the leaders of either party.

Courant columnist, former counselor to former President Bill Clinton, and former gubernatorial candidate for governor on the Democrat ticket Bill Curry notes in his Sunday column that it is the near elections, and voters bugged by the collapse of fraudulent lending practices in the housing market, that have stimulated the stimulus package. “At heart,” Curry reminds us, “stimulus is a Democratic project,” as is excessive spending; though, Lord knows, Bush, attempting to buy his way through a war by yielding to budget padders, has hardly been an effective breakwater.

The stimulus is likely to fend off a recession that will deepen the longer it is postponed by cheery bi-partisanshi…

Change For Change’s Sake

John McCain has been conducting a guerrilla war against the poobahs of his party for lo these many years, and so it is not surprising there are some within the Republican Party who feel he richly deserves a boot in the rear. That boot, some of them realize, can only be administered at their peril.

Barack Obama does not have this problem, at least yet. Some of the grey heads of the Democrat Party, prominent among them Sen. Edward Kennedy, have eagerly jumped aboard his campaign. Of course, early roadblocks in Kennedy's career -- one thinks of Chappaquiddick -- have placed the presidency well beyond Kennedy’s reach, but this, not at all surprisingly, has freed the most demagogic of the Kennedys to be the uncrowned king of Camelot. Kennedy sees in Obama a reprise of Camelot, King Arthur this time played by an African American. If Obama is by most reckonings the most liberal senator in the United States, Kennedy trails very closely behind. So, in some ways, an Obama win would vindicate…

Rat Number 1

David Wilhelm, who once led former President Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential bid, apparently has jumped the burning deck and joined forces with Captain Obama.

The Obama camp plans to announce the defection of the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday, named after Woden, whom Anglo Saxons worshiped as a godly undertaker, a carrier off of the dead.

Missing in Action -- Obama, Clinton

According to a New York Times report, “the Senate handed the White House a major victory on Tuesday by voting to broaden the government’s spy powers and to give legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush’s program of eavesdropping without warrants.”

The bill, approved by the senate in a 68 to 29 vote, “allows the government to eavesdrop on large bundles of foreign-based communications on its own authority so long as Americans are not the targets. A secret intelligence court, which traditionally has issued individual warrants before wiretapping began, would review the procedures set up by the executive branch only after the fact to determine whether there were abuses involving Americans.”

According to the paper, “Among the presidential contenders, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, voted in favor of the final measure, while the two Democrats, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, did not vote.”

There is no word…

NEW ENGLAND TOWN MEETING, PEOPLE ARE SOVEREIGN

Three centuries ago, when settlers moved into New Fairfield and Sherman, it was they, groups of sovereign citizens assembled, who, without the aid of elected officials, ran the town in Town Meetings (they were one town then). In time they apointed an agent to run the town between Town Meetings, under the direction of Town Meeting. The idea of an agent had originated in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and had been brought to Connecticut by settlers.

The agent who superintend the concerns of the town was called selectman. That has not changed in theory, though in practice, near total control has moved to the selectmen—to a Board of Selectmen. In law, it remains as it was originally: The Connecticut Supreme Court in 2006 determined that the Town Meeting is still supreme in the case of Morris v. Congdon.

Everyone has a right to be a Patrick Henry. Patrick Henry made his disagreements heard, not once but repeatedly during the discussion of whether to adopt a bill of rights. The Constit…

Rove at Choate Rosemary Hall

The devil appeared in Wallingford last week, and some students at Choate Rosemary Hall discovered he had no tail or hooves.

Karl Rove, the Svengali of the George Bush administration, denied admission to the Choate Rosemary Hall graduation ceremony, snuck in through a back door and there was pelted with questions from the students, some of whom were anxious to catch him in an embarrassing moment.

The media was denied admittance, but an exception was made for a single Hartford Courant reporter, who filed a story that appeared a day later in the paper.

Is McCain A Conservative?

Everyone should understand that conservatives are a subset – though a very large one – of the Republican Party. There is no question that John McCain is a Republican, as are Mitt Romney, who recently withdrew from the race, and Mike Huckabee, who has yet to withdraw.

Conservatives have doubts, some supportable, some not, that McCain is a real rather than a virtual conservative.

As part of their laundry list of anti-McCain points, conservatives recall that McCain once said he might consider a spot on a national ticket with Sen. John Kerry, then running for president as a Democrat. At the time, this rightly enraged the thinking wing of the Republican Party.

Ann Coulter, may the blessings of Joe McCarthy be upon her, still has not gotten over it. In a recent column she said that she would stump for Sen. Hillary Clinton, now running for president on the Democrat ticket, should Republicans choose McCain as their nominee. Though Coulter has threatened to support a liberal Democrat for presiden…

Connecticut’s Budget

Governor Rell’s new budget demonstrates that it is possible for an old dog – no slur on the governor intended – to learn some new tricks.

Her last budget, heavy on spending, caused major eruptions in her party. This one is far more modest. In leftist lingo, it is “unimaginative.”

“In her annual budget message” said Lew Andrews of The Yankee Institute for Public Policy Studies, “she promised no income tax increases and that expenditures would finally be kept in line.”

The executive director of the free market institute was not all smiles. “The Governor,” he said, “is still enamored with the idea that government bureaucrats are best equipped to pick winners and losers in private industry. Her proposal to dedicate $5.5 million to attract nanotechnology companies would, if passed, just waste taxpayers’ money. It would be far better for employment in Connecticut, if the legislature were asked to consider a broad reduction of corporate taxes and fees.”

Sometimes the old tricks kick in spontaneo…

Dean Says Convention May Be Brokered

The possibility of a brokered Democrat convention does not please Howard Dean, the Chairman of the Democrat Party. “The idea that we can afford to have a big fight at the convention and then win the race in the next eight weeks, I think, is not a good scenario," Dean said in an interview with NY1 television.”

“I think we will have a nominee sometime in the middle of March or April. But if we don't, then we're going to have to get the candidates together and make some kind of an arrangement,” said Dean, “because I don't think we can afford to have a brokered convention -- that would not be good news for either party."

In a brokered convention, the presidential nominee would be decided on the floor of the national convention, an event that had not occurred in decades. In pre-primary days, such decisions lay in the hand of party power brokers adept at manipulating delegates. But the old boys in the smoke filled rooms have been long gone, and it is not at all certain …

Obama in Hartford

The 17,000 person crowd was large and enthusiastic.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, in introducing Barack Obama, the apostle of change, was his usual bombastic self. Stretching out Obama’s name absurdly, he managed to sound like a cross between Elmer Gantry and a carnival barker. But the crowd was not there to see Kennedy; they came to get a glimpse of the new Democrat phenom.

The reaction to Obama, both among those who are inclined to vote for him and liberal commentators in the media, continues to be one of swooning adulation, as if Obama were a rock star rather than a politician.

Kennedy himself drew parallels between Obama and his two brothers, asking the crowd whether they would do for the politician he had introduced – OOOBAMMAAAAAAAAA -- what an early generation, taken with presidential candidate John Kennedy, had in the glory days of Camelot done for his brother.

“Will you DOOOOOOO it?”

The whipped up crown indicated they would.

Media reaction to Obama was equally enthusiastic. One Hartford C…

The Clintons' Baptism by Uranium

Long before Roman Polansky expatriated himself to France, after having pleaded guilty in the United States to having had unlawful sexual intercourse with a thirteen year old girl, he made a short film called “Two Men and a Wardrobe” that might serve as a metaphor for our time.

The two men in the film carry with them wherever they go a cumbersome wardrobe that causes them no end of trouble. Seeing the men and the wardrobe, other people naturally try to avoid them. Such baggage, which separates the two from the common run of humanity, can only spell trouble.

The film is an allegory, and the beauty of allegories is that they sometimes mean more than one thing at the same time. If our checkered past could take form in some material object, a wardrobe would serve the purpose perfectly. The good thing about the past is that it usually lies tucked away beyond the notice of prying eyes. Occupying the realm of reason and the imagination, it is invisible most of the time, unlike the wardrobe the…

Northeast Swings to Obama

Sen. Edward Kennedy last week draped both himself and the tattered mantle of Camelot around the neck of Sen. Barack Obama, the “future is ours” Democrat vying with Sen. Hillary Clinton for the nomination of their party for president. The gesture made it possible for usually timid North East politicians to abandon the Clinton ship and run up their Jolly Rogers.

So far in Connecticut, Reps John Larson, Rosa DeLauro and Chris Murphy have joined the Kennedy-Obama ship; hanging back in the wings, but ready to rejoice, are Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Joe Courtney.

Kennedy’s enthusiastic embrace has had some unfortunate repercussions. The reaction to Kennedy’s defection from the Clinton camp in the New York sector of the feminist jungle has been somewhat intemperate.

“Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal,” the president of the National Organization for Women’s New York chapter wrote in a press release:

“Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presi…

Nader, Just Go Away

Stakonovite anti-corporationist Ralph Nader appears to be pawing the ground, anxious to enter the Democrat lists for president. The choices have been winnowed down to two candidates: Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and points South, and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. It is hoped – apparently by Nader and no one else – that the consumer advocate will be able to fill a gap caused when Sen. John Edwards bowed out of the race.